Middle East oil giants are vying for hydrogen supremacy

According to the US Oil Price Network, as countries in the Middle East region successively announced ambitious hydrogen energy plans in 2021, some of the world’s major energy producing countries seem to be competing for a piece of the hydrogen energy pie. Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have announced major investments in the production of blue hydrogen and green hydrogen in the next 10 years, hoping to defeat Europe and become the world’s largest hydrogen fuel producer. A few days ago, Engie of France and Masdar Energy, a renewable energy company headquartered in Abu Dhabi, announced plans to invest US$5 billion to develop the UAE’s green hydrogen industry. The details of the project development have not been disclosed, but the two companies hope to build a 2 GW electrolytic cell capacity project by 2030. This project aims to develop a gigawatt-scale green hydrogen center for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which will help accelerate the economic decarbonization of GCC member states.

At the COP26 climate summit held in November 2021, the UAE disclosed its goal of occupying 25% of the global low-carbon hydrogen market by 2030 through the “hydrogen leadership roadmap”. The UAE hopes to become the world’s major hydrogen exporter in the next ten years, especially focusing on the European and East Asian markets. Currently, several hydrogen projects are being implemented. The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) currently produces more than 300,000 tons of hydrogen per year, and its goal is to produce 500,000 tons per year.

But the UAE is not the only Middle Eastern country that hopes to develop a green hydrogen industry ahead of its international competitors. Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in hydrogen projects, although Saudi Arabia’s National Petroleum Corporation (Saudi Aramco) acknowledges that blue hydrogen is still dominant and aims to make green hydrogen more economically viable in order to develop the industry. This is part of Saudi Arabia’s national transportation and logistics strategy, which aims to increase the industry’s non-oil revenue to US$12 billion by 2030.

Through regional agreements, Oman also hopes to become a major hydrogen producer and exporter in the world. In November 2021, local officials announced that Oman hopes to build a hydrogen-centric economy by 2040, with green hydrogen and blue hydrogen reaching 30 GW. The Omani government hinted that a national hydrogen strategy will be released soon. In addition, Oman has planned to build one of the world’s largest hydrogen facilities by 2038, and construction will begin in 2028. These US$30 billion factories will be powered by 25 gigawatts of wind and solar power, and the goal is to eventually produce 1.8 million tons of hydrogen per year.


Post time: Dec-30-2021

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