French supermajor Total looks to become a large producer of clean hydrogen one day, chairman and chief executive Patrick Pouyanné said on Tuesday during the virtual IP Week conference run by the Energy Institute.
“We have huge interest in hydrogen... We want to be a large producer at scale of clean hydrogen,” the top executive of one of the biggest oil and gas companies in the world said, reiterating the firm’s ambition to become a broad energy company that is not just pumping oil and gas.
There are challenges in lowering the cost of clean hydrogen and making it commercially viable, Pouyanné said, but noted that liquefied natural gas (LNG) was also slow to take off decades ago before becoming a major industry and trade commodity today.
Earlier this year, Total and energy provider Engie applied for subsidies which, if obtained, would allow them to build the largest green hydrogen facility in France that will use only solar power to produce hydrogen. Total and Engie have signed a cooperation agreement to design, develop, build, and operate France’s largest renewable hydrogen production site, which will be located in southern France and will meet the needs of Total’s La Mède bio-refinery.
Total is the latest oil major that is stepping up efforts to develop a green hydrogen economy, while it is betting on profitably growing its LNG and renewable businesses as part of its new strategy and net-zero agenda.
Shell is also developing several projects for renewable hydrogen production, including a plan to build the largest European green hydrogen project in the Netherlands by 2040, NortH2.
Last November, BP created a partnership with offshore wind giant Ørsted to develop an industrial-scale electrolyzer project for green hydrogen production in Germany. Italy’s oil and gas major Eni and utility giant Enel announced in December they would work together to develop green hydrogen projects.
At the end of last year, the UK and Scottish authorities announced they would fund the world’s first pilot project for heating homes with green hydrogen.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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