RIYADH: Hydrogen growth plans by the oil-exporting countries in the GCC could reap as much as $100 billion a year by 2050, according to a report by Columbia University and Qamar Energy.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are advancing plans to produce blue and green hydrogen, leveraging existing hydrocarbon relationships to sell newer, cleaner forms of energy, report agencies.
A conservative scenario for the growth of low-carbon hydrogen could lead to GCC countries meeting up to 10 per cent of European and East Asian requirements by 2050. The region could generate between $30bn and $40bn in annual revenues from sales up to about 20 million tonnes of hydrogen.
A more ambitious target could mean GCC countries providing 30 per cent of demand in Europe and East Asia. Export volumes could reach 50 million tonnes, generating between $80bn and $100bn in annual revenues, the report said.
Gulf oil exporters have already targeted sales of blue hydrogen to countries such as Japan, with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company signing three agreements to sell the cleaner fuel. “The UAE priorities have to be defined. At the moment, a strong market pull for low-carbon hydrogen and related materials is emerging from Europe and Japan in particular,” the report said.
Hydrogen could also be used in the domestic market as regional countries look at continued decarbonisation across various sectors.
“Low-carbon hydrogen represents a potential route to decarbonise domestic industry and to create new export streams, whether hydrogen directly, or hydrogen-derived industrial materials such as ammonia, plastics, synthetic fuels and steel,” according to the report.
Hydrogen is being used as a reducing agent in steel production, replacing the more polluting coal, which countries around the world are seeking to phase out.