Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is teaming up with South Korea’s GS Energy to explore opportunities to grow Abu Dhabi’s hydrogen economy.

Adnoc revealed this week it had signed an agreement with GS Energy to collaborate on potentially developing new value chains in Abu Dhabi for blue hydrogen and carrier fuels, such as blue ammonia.

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Adnoc chief executive Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said the agreement reflected the importance the United Arab Emirates placed on its strategic relationship with South Korea across multiple sectors.

“Approximately 10% of South Korea’s crude oil is currently imported from the UAE, Korean companies are significant stakeholders in several of Abu Dhabi’s upstream concessions and Korean contractors today play critical roles on major projects across our oil and gas value chain.”

“We look forward to building upon these successes as we seek to expand our existing relationship with GS Energy, identifying possible areas of investment in Abu Dhabi’s emerging blue hydrogen ecosystem as well as the Emirate’s world-scale refining and petrochemicals assets in Ruwais.”

Virtual meeting

The agreement was signed during a “virtual business trip” aimed at expanding bilateral economic and trade relations between the UAE and South Korea to drive economic growth in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This saw Jaber meet with Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, Yun-Mo Sung, as well as GS Energy chief executive Yongsoo Huh.

The meeting saw the parties discuss possible areas for further economic partnership, the global climate challenge, the promise of hydrogen and opportunities for greater UAE-Korea industrial cooperation.

Builds on Adnoc's hydrogen plans

Adnoc signed an agreement earlier this year, with Mubadala and ADQ, to form a hydrogen alliance, focusing on both green and blue hydrogen.

It forms part of the emirate's energy diversification plans as Abu Dhabi looks to establish itself as an exporter of hydrogen to emerging international markets, while also building a local hydrogen economy.

While green hydrogen will form part of the alliance's plans, Adnoc has stated that its main focus will be on blue hydrogen as it looks to leverage its significant gas reserves.

The Abu Dhabi state-run company already produces about 300,000 tonnes per annum of hydrogen for its downstream operations and has previously stated it intends to expand it to more than 500,000 tonnes.

Jaber has also previously stated that he believes the UAE could become “one of the lowest-cost and largest producers of blue hydrogen in the world" utilising carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology.

Last year Adnoc revealed plans to expand its CCUS programme by more than 500%, to have the capacity to capture 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2030.

The programme forms part of the company's sustainability goals to reduce its greenhouse gas intensity by 25% by 2030.