Equinor, Engie Form Blue Hydrogen Pact
Norway's Equinor and France's Engie have announced a partnership to assess the potential for producing and marketing blue hydrogen, derived from natural gas, in Europe.
The pair have signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate developing blue hydrogen value chains in Belgium, the Netherlands and France, they said in a statement on February 18. They will begin talks with potential customers in the coming months, as well as with stakeholders and relevant authorities.
Hydrogen is designated blue when it is produced from natural gas, typically using steam methane reforming, and CO2 emitted from the process is captured and stored. Most European countries are primarily focusing on green hydrogen, derived from water using renewable energy-powered electrolysis. But proponents of blue hydrogen point to its lower cost, arguing that it can help industries decarbonise in the nearer term, and develop a market ready for when green hydrogen costs have fallen.
"Engie and Equinor believe that it is essential to develop low-carbon and renewable hydrogen projects at scale in order to make it possible for industrial customers to significantly reduce CO2 emissions before 2030," Equinor said. "The development of low carbon and renewable hydrogen will accelerate the construction of new hydrogen infrastructure and the repurposing of current natural gas infrastructure, thus paving the way for net zero in 2050."
Equinor has emerged as a frontrunner in hydrogen development in Europe. The company is involved in two blue hydrogen and carbon, capture and storage (CCS) projects in the UK, known as Zero Carbon Humber and Net Zero Teesside. It is also working on a plan to decarbonise steel production in Germany using blue hydrogen, under the H2morrow Steel initiative, as well as industry in the Dutch Rotterdam area under the H-vision scheme.
Equinor also joined a major green hydrogen project off the coast of the Netherlands in December, known as NortH2, which aims to develop 4 GW of wind capacity to produce the fuel.
Engie is working on a number of hydrogen initiatives of its own, including a potential hydrogen import terminal in Belgium.