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In a major move to develop hydrogen production capacity and set up a supply chain in the MENA region, Germany is now looking at a less obvious partner, Mauritania.
German newspaper Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports that a consortium made up of UAE renewable energy giant MASDAR, an Abu Dhabi state-owned company, Egyptian technology provider Infinity and German project developer Conjuncta, have signed an MOU with Mauritania to set up a $34 billion green hydrogen project.
As indicated by the parties involved, the overall green hydrogen production capacity is set to be 8 million tons of ammonia or other hydrogen related products. The total electrolyzer capacity is set to be around 10GW. Conjuncta stated that the first phase of the project, to be located northeast of Mauritania’s capital Nouakchott is to be completed in 2028, representing a 400MW production capacity. Stefan Liebing, Conjuncta’s CEO, said that the project will be strongly linked to Germany, not only due to technological input, but also as a potential offtaker of the hydrogen products.
At present European governments are searching for around 10 million tons of green hydrogen or ammonia imports by 2030, but until now, the short-term supply options are very meager. Several reports have already indicated that most probably, if Europe’s renewable targets will have to be met and a green hydrogen market is established, Europe will need to import around 25 million tons of green hydrogen/ammonia per year.
Domestic European green hydrogen production will not yet be available or not competitive at all in 2030. After that Germany, the Netherlands and others, have been clearly targeting the UAE as a possible supplier, others countries are being explored. Another potentially large supplier could be Saudi Arabia, looking at its ever-growing list of green hydrogen projects being planned lately, or Egypt, where Gulf Arab money is also entering major new hydrogen projects. During the last few weeks, Egypt has been signing several new green hydrogen project agreements, while Saudi state-owned utility giant ACWA had finalized and signed the financing agreements for its $8.5 billion NEOM green hydrogen project.
Mauritania may be one of the less prominent options, but its geographical position makes it a possible contender. The above mentioned $34 billion project could be a gamechanger for the Nouakchott government. Recently, Mauritania also made headlines as oil and gas major Shell reported that it has signed a new E&P contract with Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Mines and Energy. The E&P deal was signed to conduct exploration activities in Block C2 offshore Mauritania, with Shell holding a 75% stake in the block, and Mauritania’s government 25%. Block C2 is situated to the south of Block C10, where Shell is already conducting exploration activities.
By Cyril Widdershoven for Oilprice.com
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Dr. Cyril Widdershoven is a long-time observer of the global energy market. Presently, he holds several advisory positions with international think tanks in the Middle…