In this list
Energy Transition

Air Products' green hydrogen import plans for California in flux as market evolves: VP

Energy | Energy Transition

Platts Custom Analytics

Energy | Coal | Energy Transition | Emissions | Carbon | Natural Gas | Oil

Decarbonizing cement and concrete - major opportunity or death by a thousand cuts?

Oil | Energy Transition | Energy

APPEC 2024

Agriculture | Energy | Energy Transition | Oil | Sugar | Biofuels | Renewables | Emissions | Carbon | Refined Products | Fuel Oil | Grains | Jet Fuel

Global UCO supply to double by 2030 as US, EU policies drive Asian supply

Electric Power | Electricity | Energy | Energy Transition | Renewables

Platts EuGO: European Guarantees of Origin assessments

Metals | Energy | Coal | Energy Transition | Electric Power | LNG | Natural Gas | Steel | Steel Raw Materials | Coking Coal | Emissions | Carbon | Electricity | Renewables

Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

For full access to real-time updates, breaking news, analysis, pricing and data visualization subscribe today.

Subscribe Now

Air Products' green hydrogen import plans for California in flux as market evolves: VP


Market for Saudi hydrogen in California still uncertain

Future importing, exporting regions not yet cemented

  • Author
  • Brandon Mulder
  • Editor
  • Marieke Alsguth
  • Commodity
  • Energy Transition

Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi raised eyebrows earlier this year when he floated the idea of shipping green hydrogen from Saudi Arabia to California, but the company's hydrogen chief Eric Guter clarified in an interview that those plans are far from certain.

Not registered?

Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.

Register Now

"It's not something that we're discussing publicly," Guter, Air Products' vice president of global hydrogen for mobility, said. "We make announcements when we have made definitive decisions. That's why all the projects that [the company has announced] we're comfortable talking about, because those are projects that our board has sanctioned."

The idea of Air Products importing green hydrogen into California was raised by Ghasemi March 8 during CERAWeek by S&P Global conference in Houston, where he publicly stated that most of the hydrogen produced at the NEOM Green Hydrogen Complex in Saudi "will be sold either in Europe or in the state of California."

The NEOM project, which is being developed through a partnership with Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power Co., would be the world's largest green hydrogen-based ammonia facility once it comes online in 2027. The $8.5 billion facility would harness the kingdom's abundant renewable resources to produce 600 mt/d of green hydrogen, which will be shipped around the world in the form of ammonia.

In his remarks, Ghasemi said that California is an especially attractive export market owing to the state's policy support for green hydrogen, especially the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, or LCFS, which subsidizes clean fuels used to decarbonize the state's transportation sector.

However, that plan has perplexed other industry observers who say that it contradicts the intent of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, both of which are designed to make domestically produced hydrogen as competitive as possible.

"All of these [policy] efforts are intended to align to support an end-to-end system and grow the hydrogen economy to self-sustainability," California Senator Josh Newman, chairman of the Select Committee on Transitioning to a Zero-Emission Energy Future, said in reaction to Ghasemi's comment.

Although Air Product's importing plans are not yet cemented, Guter said that the company is looking to market its NEOM-produced hydrogen to any country with a supportive policy regime.

"Sheer market forces will require that our NEOM product, wherever it would be imported to, would have to compete with domestically-based projects, so we understand that," Guter said. "It would not work if they were not competitive against local domestically-produced products."

In California, any hydrogen imported by Air Products would be likely be used to decarbonize heavy industry and heavy-duty trucking, Guter said. The same goes for Air Products' other green hydrogen projects in the Western US -- a 10 mt/d plant in Arizona slated to come online this year, and a 200 mt/day plant in Texas expected for 2027.

US importing regions vs exporting regions

In total, Air Products has more than a half-dozen green and blue hydrogen projects in the works across North America. Together, the $15 billion worth of projects will bring more than 3,600 mt/d of clean hydrogen to the global market within the next five years, a company spokesperson said.

Some of those projects are poised to produce hydrogen for global exports. For instance, the company's $4.5 billion blue hydrogen complex coming to the Louisiana coast in 2026 will convert some of its hydrogen into ammonia for exports. Additionally, its $1.6 billion blue hydrogen complex in Alberta, Canada, slated for 2024 also creates an export opportunity for the company.

Both those regions -- US Gulf Coast and the Western Coast of Canada -- have been identified by S&P Global Commodity Insights as regions with great export potential of clean hydrogen.

However, the export or import opportunities in any region are not set in stone, Guter explained.

"There's going to be projects that spring up and go one direction initially, then may go in another direction as that project evolves," he said. "You can imagine import facilities converting to export facilities over time as we build up domestic production in any single location based on available resources. ...There's going to be flex."