Russia targets 20-25% of future hydrogen trade
Russia is striving to occupy a 20-25% of the global hydrogen trading market by 2035, deputy energy minister Pavel Sorokin announced at a government meeting on April 12.
Russia has watched decarbonisation efforts underway in Asia and Europe with some trepidation, fearful of the impact to its oil and gas exports to key markets. But the country also views hydrogen as an opportunity to secure a key role in the energy transition, believing it can leverage its close proximity to emerging hydrogen markets to establish itself as a major supplier.
"Our goal is to obtain 20-25% of global hydrogen trade," Sorokin said at the ministry meeting. "It is difficult to assess this goal in numbers – it can be 1-2mn metric tons/year under a low scenario, or up to 7mn mt/yr in 2035 if there is active, fast-paced development."
In its energy strategy last year, Russia projected that it could export 1mn mt/yr of hydrogen in 2024, rising to 7mn mt/yr in 2035 and between 7.9 and 33.4mn mt/yr by 2050, depending on how the global hydrogen market takes shape.
Hydrogen also offers a means for Russia to commercialise more of its natural gas reserves, estimated by BP at 38 trillion m3 proven. The fuel is commonly produced from methane using reforming. If CO2 emitted from the process is captured and stored, the hydrogen is classified as blue hydrogen, which both the EU and the governments in Asia have recognised as a solution for decarbonising energy, at least in the nearer term.
Russia's state-owned Gazprom has also been investigating the production of so-called turquoise hydrogen using methane pyrolysis, which produces solid carbon as a by-product that is not only environmentally clean but also a useful commodity in industry. But the method is currently only used on a very small scale.
Russia's other majors Novatek, Rosneft and Lukoil have also expressed interest in developing hydrogen. Novatek is understood to be working with Germany's Siemens on converting one of Yamal LNG's gas-fired power generators to run on mostly hydrogen. It also signed a memorandum with German utility Uniper in January on establishing a hydrogen supply chain in Europe.
Russian nuclear power plant operator Rosatom is also working on some pilot projects to produce yellow hydrogen from water using electrolysis, with the process powered with atomic energy. It has also been suggested Russia could use wind and solar power to produce green hydrogen, but the sector is currently still in its infancy in the country.