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Aramco looks to China for blue hydrogen production

According to Amin Nasser, the CEO of Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company is looking to cooperate more with China in areas like the production of ammonia and hydrogen from natural gas, as well as chemicals and lubricant products for its heavy industry and transport.

Despite the low oil prices during the COVID-19 pandemic reducing its revenues, Aramco is looking to invest in some Chinese projects. China is currently the world’s biggest producer of so-called grey hydrogen, which produces carbon emissions. With the country aiming to be carbon neutral by 2060, however, there is a desire to switch to green hydrogen, where hydrogen is produced through electrolysis powered by renewable energy, or blue hydrogen, where carbon emissions are captured and then either stored or reused.

Speaking in Beijing at the China Development Forum, Nasser said:

“We see opportunities for further investments in integrated downstream projects to help meet China’s needs for heavy transport and chemicals, as well as lubricants and non-metallic materials.”

Hydrogen is regarded as a potential fuel for industries that are hard to decarbonise, as well as an alternative energy source for powering electric vehicles. Indeed, Chinese oil and gas company Sinopec plans to establish 1,000 hydrogen fuelling stations in the next few years.

Last year, Shell launched its Blue Hydrogen Process, which it claims is competitive with grey hydrogen once penalties for carbon emissions are taken into consideration. It says it is also much cheaper than green hydrogen, which it does not expect to reach price parity before 2045.

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