Centrica (LON:CNA) and Equinor have signed a co-operation agreement to explore the development of a hydrogen production hub at Easington in East Yorkshire.
Under a new co-operation agreement, the Centrica-operated area at the Easington gas terminal could become a production hub or hydrogen – a move which the partners said would cement its status as the UK’s “foremost hydrogen super place.”
Currently up to one-third of the UK’s total gas supply enters via Easington, much of it from Equinor’s Norwegian facilities.
It also serves Centrica’s newly re-opened Rough gas storage facility which the energy group confirmed last week would now be able to store up to 30 billion cubic feet (bcf) of its 100bcf capacity gas for use in the national transmission system over winter 2022/23.
The proposed hydrogen hub would draw on these existing infrastructural resources, as well as its proximity to some of the world’s largest offshore wind farm developments, offering “huge” potential for both blue (paired with carbon capture) and green (powered by renewables) hydrogen production, the partners said.
At the same time, Centrica said it advancing plans to convert the Rough facility for use in hydrogen storage.
Furthermore, the terminal is a potential landing point for the East Coast Cluster’s carbon capture pipeline, which would transport CO2 carbon dioxide offshore for to be stored.
As such, it is a key location within the Zero Carbon Humber partnership would provide regional hydrogen and CO2 pipelines between the area’s major energy producers and carbon intensive industries, based on Equinor-led plans at to produce blue hydrogen at Saltend.
Alongside output from H2H Saltend, the partners expect that conversion of the terminal could produce an additional 1GW of hydrogen production coupled with around 200MW of off-take demand.
Equinor said the future-proofing of the Easington facility would also safeguard many of the existing jobs within this historical gas terminal, alongside new roles.
Centrica chief executive Chris O’Shea said: “This exciting project builds on the long-standing partnership between Centrica and Equinor and follows on from our recent agreement to secure additional gas for our UK customers.
“Like Equinor, Centrica are committed to investing in the Humber region, levelling up and de-carbonising industry to create a world leading, green energy driven, economic hub.”
Equinior SVP for low-carbon solutions Grete Tveit added: “Partnering with Centrica to potentially develop a new hydrogen hub at one of the UK’s most significant industrial sites could help to transform this region’s energy mix whilst preserving and creating jobs and skills.”