Japan’s JERA and Germany’s Uniper have teamed up to back an ammonia project in the US Gulf Coast, with a focus on exports to Germany. In the near term, it should also secure new LNG supplies.
Initial production at the Gulf Coast plant will be 2 million tonnes per year, although with the potential to reach 8mn tpy.
JERA Americas and ConocoPhillips are developing the facility. It aims to produce hydrogen and convert it into clean ammonia. JERA and Uniper will take the production under long-term sale and purchase agreements.
Uniper, the statement said, aims to secure 1mn tpy of green ammonia from various sources by the end of this decade.
The agreement also touched on LNG. This should see Uniper being able to supply more LNG to its domestic market. Meanwhile, JERA would direct supplies to Japan and beyond.
Uniper chief commercial officer Niek Den Hollander described the deal with JERA as a “landmark and timely initiative”.
The companies aim to develop and deliver “material LNG supply in the very near term”. It also seeks to deliver “green and blue hydrogen to Europe to support our longer-term values and goals”.
“Uniper’s key role in meeting the urgent need for alternative gas and clean fuel supply is complemented by JERA and Uniper’s combined global clean energy expertise and technical development capabilities, allowing collaboration between two of the world’s leading energy security and transition companies to accelerate the meeting of Europe’s needs and goals.”
It is not clear whether the Gulf Coast project would produce green or blue ammonia. The companies will carry out a project engineering study by the end of 2022 to consider these opportunities.
The companies hope that the project would reach commercial operations in the late 2020s. It noted that this should include a certified carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility.
The Gulf Coast appeal
JERA Americas CEO Steven Winn said the company was “committed to providing cutting edge solutions to the world’s energy issues and is actively working to establish both the ammonia and hydrogen value chains”.
He noted a skilled workforce, plentiful natural gas, abundant renewable resources, deepwater ports and geology ideal for CCS. These, he said, “make the US Gulf Coast uniquely advantaged to produce the low carbon fuel to enable the Atlantic and Pacific energy markets transition. JERA and ConocoPhillips will be a low-cost ammonia supplier to domestic and international markets.”
Winn said the plan would help Germany decarbonise while also advancing ammonia technology development.
The deal follows a recent high-level visit of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Canada, where he secured pledges to deliver green ammonia by 2025.