Provaris hydrogen blow with collapse of supplier


Provaris Energy’s plans to construct its proposed 26,000 cubic metre H2Neo compressed hydrogen transport vessels has been dealt a blow with the bankruptcy of a key manufacturer provider of a prototype tank for the H2Neo carrier vessel.

Norwegian-based Prodtex Industri AS which operates the Fiska facility in Norway and is responsible for constructing the prototype tank announced bankruptcy on the third of June, according to its parent company and Provaris technology collaboration partner Prodtex AS.

The American Bureau of Shipping has approved the design of the hydrogen carriers which are destined to be used on Provaris’ 100,000 tonne a year green hydrogen export project now in the advanced planning stage to be built on the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory.

However a prototype-scale tank is required for Final Class Approvals from DNV which are essential to transition the tank design into a smaller-scale production phase at Prodtex’s facility in Fiska.

According to Provaris: “Prodtex the head contractor is not included in the bankruptcy process and, as far as the company is aware, remains solvent.

“Under the Prototype Tank Contract the intellectual property being developed remains the property of Provaris.

“The bankruptcy will halt all engineering work on the prototype tank…and it is likely to result in senior secured lenders of Prodtex Industri, including Innovation Norway (the Norwegian Government’s national development bank), taking control of Prodtex Industri’s facilities.”

Provarius said the difficulties faced by Prodtex Industri were linked to negative economic developments relating to the ongoing construction of five fish cages for a third party and were not related to the prototype tank Contrac.

“It is currently unclear what impact the bankruptcy will have on the prototype tank Contract but at a minimum the company expects there to be delays in the completion of the Prototype Tank.

“Provaris has scheduled a meeting with Innovation Norway this week to discuss alternative pathways for reopening the Fiska facility. The company’s primary goal is to have construction recommence…as soon as possible to minimise the overall impact of the Prodtex Industri Bankruptcy on the company.

“Additionally, Provaris management will look to work closely with Prodtex to develop an alternative plan to ensure work continues on the Prototype Tank. If such an alternative plan develops and is agreed, then further announcements will be made.”

Based on discussions held to date, Provaris currently remains confident that a solution can be reached whereby tank testing will remain on track to be completed in 2024 which, if achieved, would not materially affect the advancement of ongoing commercialisation activities.

“The construction of the prototype tank to date has provided Provaris management confidence that high-quality tanks can be produced with the aid of automation.

“The transition from the ‘digital twin’ (design) to robotic handling and welding has been successful, demonstrating the capability to create complex steel structures in a highly cost-effective manner.

“This approach significantly reduces the typical labor resource component of capital expenditure for complex steel construction projects.”

Further reading:
Approval secured for Provaris compressed hydrogen transport vessel

Provaris Energy: Work underway on prototype compressed hydrogen tank

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