There are 90 hydrogen projects across Arabia

Egypt tops the list of Arab countries for hydrogen projects (by Adobe)

Egypt tops the list of Arab countries which have ongoing hydrogen projects, writes Ahmad Abdel-Rahman from Egypt.

The year 2023 saw Arab countries continue to enhance international cooperation and partnership in the field of hydrogen. They signed memoranda of understanding with international actors, as well as concluding preliminary agreements to implement giant projects.

Many of these projects are based on the production of green hydrogen and green ammonia, while others are based on expanding the production of blue hydrogen or its derivatives, such as blue ammonia. Hydrogen applications in the field of land, sea and air transport and hydrogen transport projects are also being developed, according to a report by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), that looked at developments in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrogen.

The OPEC report showed that the number of Arab countries that have set specific goals with time frames for hydrogen production capabilities have increased since the last report. Moreover, the targeted share of the global market to six countries reflects their keenness to be present in this promising market in the future and to gain an important market share. Arab countries have adopted important goals within their national hydrogen strategies, through which they are working to strengthen their position in the global hydrogen market and obtain a large share in the field of hydrogen production and export, according to the report.

The report said that throughout 2023, some Arab countries announced a national hydrogen strategy, including Algeria. According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, in a March 2023 report, Algeria aims to produce 40 terawatt hours of hydrogen by 2040, which is equivalent to one million tonnes when converted to hydrogen. According to the National Committee for Hydrogen Development, Algeria seeks to produce this quantity of hydrogen and direct it toward export, especially to European markets, at a competitive price. It aims at covering about 10 per cent of its expected imports to the European market, estimated at about 10 million tonnes per year, by 2040.

The National Green Hydrogen Council in Egypt also approved the National Hydrogen Strategy in November 2023, in preparation for its presentation to the Supreme Council of Energy. The strategy aims to make Egypt one of the leading countries in the green hydrogen economy in the world. It aims to utilise world-leading expertise and innovations in the production and export of hydrogen and its derivatives, given its large gas reserves and its strategic location.

What Arab countries are up to

In 2023, new projects in the UAE and Jordan were also announced, bringing the total number in the Arab countries to 90. Egypt tops the list with a total of 24, the majority of which are for the production of green hydrogen and green ammonia, The UAE comes in the second place with a total of 13 diverse projects between the production of green and blue hydrogen and its derivatives such as ammonia and hydrogen applications in the land and maritime transport sector.

The Sultanate of Oman has 13 projects, most of which are for the production of green hydrogen and green ammonia, while the number of announced projects in Saudi Arabia was 10, Morocco, nine, Jordan eight, Algeria four, and Mauritania, four. Two projects in Iraq and Djibouti, and one project to produce blue ammonia in Qatar were also announced.

Projects to produce hydrogen and its derivatives, such as ammonia, represent the largest share of hydrogen investments announced in Arab countries, especially since several are allocated for export.

Hydrogen production projects, including export ones, constitute 89 percent of the total number of announced projects. Projects for using hydrogen in the various types of land, sea and air transportation sector represent 9 percent, while 2 per cent will be hydrogen transportation projects via pipelines.

In October 2023, the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) announced the 2040 Strategy and the Kuwait Energy Transition Strategy 2050, allocating USD410 billion to this. The Kuwait Energy Transition Strategy 2050 is targeted to build the first green hydrogen production plant by 2040 identifying several steps to do this.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also officially launched the National Hydrogen Strategy in November 2023. Its first goal is to produce 1.4 million tonnes per year of low-carbon hydrogen by 2031 and gradually raise production levels to 15 million tonnes per year by 2050.

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Friday, 19 April 2024