Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) intends to become a “major participant in the growing blue hydrogen industry,” with its ample gas supply putting it at the forefront of Middle Eastern hydrogen endeavours. The business is also investigating the possibilities of green hydrogen, which is produced using renewable energy and produces no carbon emissions, like blue hydrogen does. Blue hydrogen is made from natural gas feedstock, and the carbon dioxide byproduct of hydrogen synthesis is caught and stored; however, not all of the CO2 is recovered in the process. Adnoc thinks that its current gas infrastructure and commercial-scale carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) technologies position it well for hydrogen market prospects.
According to Robin Mills, CEO of Dubai-based consultant Qamar Energy, Middle Eastern national oil corporations have a clear competitive edge in blue hydrogen, “and this is where Adnoc and Aramco have focused much of their work thus far.” “It complements current assets, talents, and business strategies,” he added. According to Mills, the Middle East should be able to attain the world’s lowest blue hydrogen production costs, slightly behind those of Russia and the United States. With the availability of low-cost gas and rising solar power, the Middle East may become a “competitive producer of blue and green hydrogen,” according to Ian Thom, research director at Wood Mackenzie.
Adnoc, together with colleague Fertiglobe, recently sold cargoes of blue ammonia — produced from nitrogen — to Japanese players as the emirate ramps up its sustainable energy drive. Adnoc said in May that it is moving forward with plans to create a big blue-ammonia plant, increasing the UAE’s exposure to growing low-carbon fuel value chains. The plant, which has entered the design process, will be built at the new Ta’ziz industrial complex and chemicals centre in Ruwais, in the country’s west. “The design contract for this project has already been granted,” the business added, “with a final investment decision for the project expected in 2022 and start-up slated for 2025.” Subject to regulatory permissions, the plant is projected to have a capacity of 1 million tonnes per year, with Fertiglobe joining Adnoc and ADQ as a partner in the project. BP, Adnoc, and Masdar, all from the United Kingdom, have inked a trio of agreements aimed at building low-carbon hydrogen centres and collaborating on sustainable energy and transportation solutions for cities in the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and abroad. The arrangement might also “lead to the first overseas investment in BP’s proposed low carbon hydrogen factory at Teesside (H2Teesside, in the United Kingdom), which plans to produce 1 gigatonne of blue hydrogen beginning in 2027.” The H2Teesside plant seeks to absorb and store up to 2 million tonnes of CO2 per year. This year, Adnoc has also inked a number of agreements to investigate hydrogen supply prospects for important demand centres, including the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry and South Korea’s GS Energy.
According to an Adnoc representative, the business is “working with current and new partners worldwide to identify markets, map out value chains, and design a roadmap to create a hydrogen ecosystem.” Adnoc and Mubadala inked an agreement earlier this year to build a hydrogen alliance concentrating on both green and blue hydrogen. It is part of Abu Dhabi’s energy diversification strategy, which aims to establish the emirate as a hydrogen exporter to burgeoning worldwide markets while simultaneously developing a local hydrogen economy. While green hydrogen is part of the alliance’s ambitions, Adnoc has declared that blue hydrogen will be its primary emphasis as it seeks to exploit its large gas deposits. The firm now generates around 300,000 tpa of hydrogen for its downstream activities and has previously claimed that it plans to increase this capacity to more than 500,000 tpa. Adnoc CEO Sultan Ahmed al Jaber believes that by utilising CCUS technology, the UAE could become “one of the lowest-cost and largest producers of blue hydrogen in the world.”
Adnoc announced intentions this year to more than 500% expand its CCUS programme, with the goal of capturing 5 million tpa of CO2 by 2030. The programme is part of the company’s long-term objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030.
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