Petronas considers $ 1.3 billion project in Alberta to export hydrogen to Asia – .

Petronas considers $ 1.3 billion project in Alberta to export hydrogen to Asia – .

Petronas and Japanese conglomerate Itochu to jointly market ammonia produced at the Alberta facility

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CALGARY – Canadian division of Malaysian state oil giant Petroliam Nasional Berhad, or Petronas, plans to study the feasibility of building a $ 1.3 billion petrochemical plant in central Alberta to export hydrogen to Asian markets.

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Petronas Energy Canada Ltd. announced on Tuesday that it had partnered with Japanese company Itochu Corp. and a Calgary-based pipeline company for a feasibility study of a facility capable of producing 1 million tonnes of ammonia per year while capturing the carbon emitted in the process.

“Ammonia is a very efficient means of transporting hydrogen,” Petronas Energy Canada President and CEO Mark Fitzgerald said in an interview on Tuesday.

The combination of nitrogen and hydrogen, which in this case would come from Petronas’ natural gas operations in northeastern British Columbia, produces ammonia.

“Ultimately, the user, which in this case would be markets overseas, would split it into nitrogen and then into hydrogen, which would be used as a fuel source,” Fitzgerald said, adding that the project would be viewed as a ” blue ammonia ”. ”Or“ blue hydrogen ”because it would capture the associated carbon emissions.

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Petronas and Itochu, a Japanese conglomerate, would jointly market the ammonia produced at the facility in Asian markets, “potentially for thermal power generation in Japan, replacing hydrocarbon-based fuels for power plants, the steel, chemical production and other applications ”.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry aims to obtain 30 million tonnes of ammonia by 2050 with the aim of achieving a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 .

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Fitgerald said Petronas, which operates in more than 90 countries, believes Canada is a great place to develop the blue ammonia / blue hydrogen facility because of the country’s vast natural gas reserves, its strategy for of hydrogen and its willingness to support the use and storage of carbon (CCUS) investments.

“The Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada are committed to working with private sector companies like ours to truly drive this hydrogen strategy for Canada. We have an abundant supply of natural gas, which is switching to blue hydrogen, ”he said.

Alberta’s Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity Dale Nally said his government was happy with Petronas and Itochu’s decision to continue an ammonia production facility in Alberta.

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“This is an incredible opportunity for Alberta’s natural resources to reach new markets and further display the innovation that fuels our vibrant energy sector,” the minister said in an email.

If the companies decide to go ahead with the project, they plan to start construction in 2023 and produce ammonia in 2027.. The companies believe that construction of the project will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs and 3,300 permanent jobs once the facility is operational.

Fitzgerald declined to name the local pipeline company involved in the feasibility study for the project.

TC Energy Corp. and Enbridge Inc. have previously worked on the development of westbound gas pipelines for proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects on the British Columbia coastline, including the Prince Rupert natural gas transmission line, which is entirely licensed by regulatory agencies, and the WestCoast Connector Gas Transmission Line.

As the LNG facilities associated with these projects have been scrapped in recent years, Alberta government officials are hopeful that the pipelines could be reused to transport hydrogen to the West Coast before they are ultimately exported to Asia.

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