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    EU Seeks Rules on Hydrogen Trade with Partners


European energy commissioner Kadri Simson said Ukraine and Morocco were potential hydrogen trading partners.

by: Joe Murphy

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EU Seeks Rules on Hydrogen Trade with Partners

The EU is looking to establish rules governing hydrogen trade with other countries such as Morocco and Ukraine, European energy commissioner Kadri Simson said in a speech on October 5.

The European Commission (EC) published a long-term strategy for developing hydrogen in July, which called for the production of 10mn metric tons/year of so-called green hydrogen at electrolysers by 2030. To help establish the future market for the fuel, however, cross-border hydrogen trade will also be necessary, making use of existing natural gas pipelines that have been repurposed.

"To trade renewable and low-carbon hydrogen reliably across borders, we will need proper rules," Simson said. "When I say trade, I do not mean only within the EU, but also with our international partners, starting with our close neighbourhood, in particular Morocco and Ukraine."

Both countries have gas pipeline connections with the EU but there are safety limits on the proportion of hydrogen in the mix, varying from country to country. 

The EU will put hydrogen "high on the agenda" in energy discussions with countries including the US, Japan and South Korea, while increasing its engagement in initiatives such as the International Partnership for Hydrogen in the Economy and the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation, the commissioner continued.

"We should use these discussions to create a global rules-based market for hydrogen solutions, including harmonised safety and environmental standards," she said. "If we do it right and take the lead we can establish benchmarks, giving our currency, the euro, a stronger role."

Simson did not mention Russia, which boasts the world's largest gas reserves that could be used to develop so-called blue hydrogen, derived from gas and abated using carbon-capture technology. This hydrogen could be delivered to the EU via the large and under-utilised pipelines connecting Siberian gas fields with European gas markets.