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UAE, Russia ink agreement to partner on hydrogen development amid net zero pledges

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UAE, Russia ink agreement to partner on hydrogen development amid net zero pledges

  • Author
  • Dania Saadi
  • Editor
  • Pritish Raj
  • Commodity
  • Coal Electric Power Energy Transition Natural Gas Petrochemicals
  • Topic
  • COP26 Energy Transition Environment and Sustainability Hydrogen: Beyond the Hype

The UAE and Russia, members of the OPEC+ alliance, have signed an agreement to collaborate on hydrogen development, particularly in the production, storage and transportation of the fuel, as the two energy producers aim to fulfill clean energy strategies under their net zero carbon emissions pledges.

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The UAE's Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia's Ministry of Industry and Trade on the sidelines of ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi, the UAE ministry said on twitter Nov. 17

Under the MOU, the UAE and Russia will collaborate in the manufacture of equipment used in the production, liquefaction and use of raw hydrogen and fuel mixtures that use hydrogen as a main element, UAE's state-run Wam news agency said, citing a ministry statement.

The UAE and Russia signed on Nov. 15 a joint declaration of intent on energy cooperation.

The UAE, OPEC's third biggest oil producer, was the first Middle Eastern country to commit to a net-zero emissions target by 2050, with AED 600 billion ($163 billion) in planned renewables investments.

UAE's hydrogen roadmap

The UAE is targeting a 25% global market share of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030 with the launch of its "hydrogen leadership roadmap" at the UN Climate Change Conference.

The roadmap sets out support for domestic, low-carbon industries and aims to establish the country as a leading hydrogen exporter, Wam said Nov. 4.

The UAE already has seven hydrogen projects underway, and is targeting a large share of key export markets, including Japan, South Korea, Germany and India, as well as other markets it identifies as being of "high potential" in Europe and East Asia.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., or ADNOC, produces over 300,000 mt/year of hydrogen, and plans to increase this to 500,000 mt/year.

Following President Putin's announcement in mid-October that Russia is planning to be carbon neutral by 2060 -- the same target as its key energy allies China and Saudi Arabia -- the Russian government is set to adopt an energy transition action plan by the end of 2021.

One way that Russia is planning to protect against the economic impact of the declining use of fossil fuels is to develop a significant hydrogen industry, targeting 20% of global market share by 2030, according to a government roadmap.

Russia's hydrogen plans

Russia's export plans include shipments of 2 million mt/year by 2035, and 15 million-50 million mt/year by 2050.

Russia plans to spend over Rb9 billion, equivalent to around $124 million, on hydrogen projects over the next three years.

It plans to produce hydrogen from nuclear and renewable sources, but analysts expect natural gas to play the biggest role in production, due to Russia's vast gas reserves.

Russia is targeting Europe and Asia as key export markets. It plans to create at least three hydrogen clusters -- in the northwest for European exports, the east for Asian supplies, and the Arctic for domestic consumption and potential exports.

S&P Global Platts Analytics forecasts that Russian hydrogen production will amount to 3.4 million mt in ammonia and 2.7 million mt in refining in 2021. It expects these volumes to increase to 3.8 million mt and 3.1 million mt, respectively, in 2025.