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London — Russian gas producer and LNG exporter Novatek is looking into the viability of commercial hydrogen production from methane, its CFO Mark Gyetvay said Sept. 8.

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Speaking at the Gastech Virtual Summit, Gyetvay said the company had sufficient gas resources to explore the possibility of a large-scale hydrogen project.

Producing hydrogen from natural gas in combination with carbon capture and storage -- so-called blue hydrogen -- is seen by gas producers as an efficient way to decarbonize gas.

Novatek to date has been focused on conventional gas production and LNG exports, but is now looking at hydrogen too.

"We are conducting studies on the prospects of technically and economically producing hydrogen from methane, both for our own corporate needs as well as for delivery to end-consumers," Gyetvay said at the summit.

"Our vast low-carbon resource base allows us to implement large-scale LNG and hydrogen projects if we deem those to be technically and commercially feasible to undertake," he said.

Novatek operates the 16.5 million mt/year Yamal LNG plant on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Russia and is also developing the 19.8 million mt/year Arctic LNG 2 facility on the opposite Gydan Peninsula.

The company has a number of other LNG projects under development and has plans to reach LNG production capacity of up to 70 million mt/year by 2030.

Gazprom efforts

Russian gas giant Gazprom is also already looking at hydrogen as a way to diversify and enhance the efficiency of gas.

Last year, it said the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as the need to increase Gazprom's competitiveness in the global markets, had made hydrogen a "key priority."

"Hydrogen and hydrogen-based energy sources have great potential as a means of transitioning to the low-emission economy," Oleg Aksyutin, member of the Gazprom management committee and head of department, said in February 2019.

Earlier this year, Gazprom said it was also looking into the possibility of implementing hydrogen projects, including technologies related to the production of hydrogen from gas without CO2 emissions.

These include the possibility of breaking down natural gas into hydrogen and carbon in unbalanced low-temperature plasma.

The Russian energy ministry, meanwhile, is also developing a "road map" for the development of a national hydrogen production strategy.