One of BOC South Pacific’s goals for 2020 was to continue working with customers in the emerging hydrogen and clean energy sectors.

“This goal is very much alive, and we are actively working on a number of key projects across the region,” John Evans, Managing Director of BOC South Pacific, told gasworld in the latest interview from our A Christmas Twist: The 12 Days of Content series.

Two recently announced projects include a new hydrogen offtake agreement with the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), which will allow BOC to supply renewable hydrogen produced at the HypSA Hydrogen Project in South Australia to customers in South Australia and Western Australia. It will also help decarbonise part of BOC’s argon operations.

The company will also be supplying electrolysers and a state-of-the-art Linde hydrogen refuelling station to Fortescue Metals Group in the Pilbara region of Australia for a renewable hydrogen bus project at Fortescue’s Christmas Creek Mine.

gasworld (GW): We’ve just heard a little about your 2020 goals, but what about 2021? What goals do you have for next year?

John Evans (JE): Our goal is to continue supporting our staff, customers and suppliers as we deal with the ongoing challenges associated with Covid-19. There is some flexibility in our plans as there is still a level of uncertainty at the moment, however we are determined to get back to as close to business as usual as possible. We will also use what we learnt through 2020, like remote working and communicating along with flexibility, in our offers and responses to meet customers’ changed needs.

We remain committed to being at the forefront of hydrogen development and look forward to building on the projects we have started.

And BOC will also be supporting local manufacturing, which has renewed focus as governments look to stimulate economies. This includes opportunities to help heavy manufacturers to decarbonise with renewable hydrogen, right through to providing technical expertise to make operations more efficient and affordable through our local and global technology and application solutions.

GW: What have been the top three highlights for BOC South Pacific this year?

JE: My top highlight has been seeing the unwavering commitment shown by our people to maintain critical gas supplies across the region regardless of the ever-changing rules, conditions and challenges, related to Covid-19. I am tremendously proud of how we have worked together, especially during extended lockdowns in Melbourne and Auckland.

It has also been pleasing to see momentum for hydrogen continue in Australia and New Zealand, with strong commitment and investment shown by industry and government, culminating in three hydrogen projects this year which are now in execution phase along with many more projects in the pipeline.

We were also proud to commence a new corporate giving partnership with Child Cancer Foundation in New Zealand. Our team has already launched some initiatives to help this organisation continue its vital support to hundreds of families through their cancer experience.

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GW: BOC South Pacific operates primarily in Australia and New Zealand. How has the company responded to Covid-19 in these regions? What gases/products/services have you been providing to medical customers?

JE: Like many companies, our immediate response was to adapt policies and procedures to keep our staff and the community safe. We had many people on the frontline during the first wave of infections – from drivers delivering the gases, to healthcare specialists working in-house at hospitals.

We quickly mobilised the BOC South Pacific supply chain including our nine air separation plants across the region, to ensure critical supply of medical gases and respiratory devices to medical customers including hospitals, aged care facilities and homecare. To protect the most vulnerable in our communities, we went above and beyond the standard Covid-19 safety practices and put in place extra measures, for example setting up dedicated aged care trucks and segregation strategies for delivery drivers.

Our delivery network is also predominantly serviced by road transport, with hundreds of different routes for tankers delivering gases interstate from various production sites. Throughout the course of the year, we’ve had to constantly adapt to state and territory border restrictions – ensuring compliance and necessary permissions. Some of these borders remain closed.

GW: What’s been the biggest challenge for BOC in 2020? How have you overcome it?

JE: The biggest challenge has been supporting our workforce during this difficult time including working from home, travel restrictions and extended lockdowns. We are a very collaborative region, with many of our technical experts, sales staff and leaders traveling between cities and countries to regularly connect with customers and provide expertise for projects. The travel restrictions have been tough, however we have increased online connections and found new innovative ways to share knowledge.

GW: Finally, in the spirit of the time of year and theme of the series, if you could have one industrial gases related thing for Christmas, what would it be and why?

JE: In the southern hemisphere, a box of BOC ICEBITZZZ dry ice pellets might come in handy over Christmas for chilling drinks at summer barbecues with friends and families.

A Christmas Twist: The 12 Days of Content series continues tomorrow with an exclusive interview with Weldcoa.