Gazprom Neft, Rosatom Partner on Hydrogen, Decarbonization on Sakhalin

The Russian oil and gas company is combining its experience with that of the leading nuclear-power producer to develop hydrogen and decarbonization projects on Sakhalin Island.

Sakhalin gas may soon be used in hydrogen production.
Source: Sakhalin Energy

Russia’s Gazprom Neft and Rusatom Overseas (RAOS) have agreed to cooperate on joint projects in hydrogen energy and various other initiatives to reduce carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions.

RAOS plans to incorporate Gazprom Neft technologies in closed-cycle CO2 capture and injection at depths of several kilometers at a plant it will build on Sakhalin Island to produce between 30,000 and 100,000 tons of hydrogen per year from natural gas, the companies announced in separate news releases.

The partners will also examine prospects of recycling CO2 emitted during hydrogen production, according to an agreement signed at the St. Petersburg International Gas Forum in October.

A subsidiary of Rosatom Group, RAOS is charged with promoting integrated nuclear power plant construction projects and nuclear science and technology centers on the international market, as well as for opening new business markets for Rosatom—such as hydrogen energy and energy storage.

As Russia’s No. 1 electricity generator, Rosatom supplies 20.28% of the country’s power and is first in the world in terms of the number of nuclear reactors it is currently constructing (three new units in Russia and 35 new reactors outside of Russia); it also controls 17% of the global nuclear fuel market, owns the world’s only fleet of nuclear icebreakers, and is involved in wind energy.

Gazprom Neft has successfully deployed its carbon technologies at the Rusanda field in Serbia through its NIS joint venture with Serbia’s national oil company.

Rosatom and Gasprom Neft are members of the Hydrogen Technology Valley consortium’s Industrial Partners’ Council, which aims to produce, transport, store, and use hydrogen, as well as develop technologies for CO2 recovery in Sakhalin, Samara, and Tomsk regions and the Moscow suburb of Chernogolovka.

The first hydrogen energy pilot projects are expected to be launched by 2022, together with specialist educational programs for training engineers and researchers, according to Gazprom Neft.

Other consortium members include Russian petrochemical giant SIBUR, Russian Railways, steel producer Severstal, locomotive manufacturer Transmashholding, and pipe manufacturer TMK.

Gazprom Neft is already, producing more than 100,000 tonnes of hydrogen throughout its technological facilities, with plans to reach 250,000 tonnes by 2024, although hydrogen is not currently an end product for Gazprom Neft but rather a process agent in oil refining.

“Oil-industry specialists have considerable experience in capturing and injecting gas into geological formations, and we are in a position to offer our company’s skills and competencies to companies in related industries—including low-carbon hydrogen production on Sakhalin,” said Vadim Yakovlev, the deputy chairman of Gazprom Neft’s Management Board, in announcing the RAOS agreement.

Evgeny Pakermanov, president of Rosatom Overseas, was quoted as saying, “The issue of achieving carbon neutrality is becoming ever more urgent for many of Russia’s regions, and demand for cutting-edge technologies in this area can only grow. It’s beyond question that our cooperation with Gazprom Neft in organizing carbon dioxide handling as part of our hydrogen projects on Sakhalin is going to play a key role in implementing our major program to develop a carbon-free economy in the region.”