World news – Aramco wants to win China as a partner for blue hydrogen

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Tuesday March 23, 2021

Energy Collaboration: A file image showing engineers at an Aramco processing facility. The oil major is also looking into potential investments in Chinese projects. – AP

BEIJING: Saudi Aramco plans to expand and intensify its cooperation with China in the field of research in areas such as hydrogen and ammonia production from natural gas, according to CEO Amin Nasser.

Aramco intends to to work with China on the use and storage of blue hydrogen and ammonia, synthetic fuels and the capture and storage of carbon, Nasser said at the China Development Forum in Beijing.

The oil major is also looking into possible investments in Chinese projects despite spending restrictions resulting from a period of low oil prices as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. « We see opportunities for further investment in integrated downstream projects to meet China’s needs for heavy haulage and chemicals, as well as lubricants and non-metallic materials, » said Nasser.

China is the world’s largest producer of hydrogen, but it currently uses fossil fuels materials for most of this production.

Spurred on by the national goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, energy giants like China Petroleum & Chemical Corp or Sinopec are working on a switch to blue hydrogen – a process that uses most of the carbon dioxide is captured and stored – and green hydrogen, which provides oxygen as a by-product.

Sinopec also plans to install 1,000 hydrogen refueling stations by 2025, up from around 27 pilot stations at the end of last year as the company and other major manufacturers commit to growth the use of fuel for transportation.

Oil companies worldwide reported losses or declining profits for 2020 as falling demand due to the coronavirus pandemic led to lower prices and forced producers to stop production.

Aramco, the world’s largest producer, was no different and reported on Sunday day a profit decline of 44% and further investment cuts. Still, some advanced or strategic projects are ongoing.

Domestically, the Jazan refinery is « up and running, » Nasser told reporters on a separate conference call to discuss earnings on Sunday.

The proposed 400,000 barrel crude oil processing facility per day on the southern coast of Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea should start operating at around half capacity after oil production in the first quarter of this year, Aramco said in August. – Bloomberg

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