Russian gas independent Novatek is to look at expanding its options over climate change mitigation and alternative energy as it strives to become a major supplier of liquefied natural gas to global markets.

Company directors rubber-stamped a proposal to form a special six-member steering committee for the exercise, which includes several Novatek directors and is chaired by Dominique Marion, an independent director with extensive background in geology and currently serving as vice president of France’s TotalEnergies.

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Novatek said the body would review business operations and develop recommendations on the company's strategy on climate and decarbonisation issues, the use of renewable energy sources and the potential production of low carbon fuels including hydrogen.

It will also facilitate regular in-depth reviews of Novatek’s climate strategy implementation and submit proposals on climate mitigation and abatement.

Moderate goals

Earlier, the company’s directors approved goals for Novatek and its subsidiaries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions against 2019 levels, with carbon dioxide released by its upstream sector intended to fall by 6% to 12.6 tonnes per barrel of oil equivalent by 2030.

CO2 emissions related to LNG production are due to be reduced by 5% to 263 kilogrammes per tonne of LNG, while methane discharges throughout the production, processing and distribution chain is planned to fall by 4% to 10.44 tonnes per million boe in 2030 against 2019 levels.

In its latest sustainability report released this week, Novatek reiterated plans to using more renewable power to replace carbon fuels and consider the production of hydrogen for delivery to international markets.

Wind generation

This year, the company has pencilled in the launch of a wind measurement programme near its flagship Yamal LNG plant on the Yamal Peninsula in West Siberia in preparation for a wind farm project that will use the generated electricity to reduce the carbon footprint of the LNG produced there.

Wind power generation is seen the most viable option for projects on the Yamal Peninsula, where the average annual wind speed is assessed at about seven metres per second.

Novatek is also continuing the conceptual evaluation of a prospective project for the large-scale production of blue ammonia from natural gas as a means to transport hydrogen, with a CO2 capture option, it said.

However, this activity is impeded by the fact that currently there are no Russian governmental regulations for these activities, the company acknowledged.

Novatek is contributing to the development of a licensing procedure for the underground storage of carbon dioxide and relevant amendments to legislation, it added.

LNG as back-up fuel for renewables

The Russian gas producer continues to insist that the worldwide trend to shift to lower-carbon energy sources opens up great business prospects for Novatek as a natural gas and LNG producer.

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The company aims to more than triple its global LNG deliveries to between 67 million and 70 million tonnes by 2030.

It sees natural gas remaining the primary back-up fuel for solar and wind power, while helping to reduce emissions by replacing coal, crude oil and refined products as energy sources.

In the report, Novatek said that some 62 million of LNG could replace up to 152 million tonnes of bituminous coal, thus preventing the emission of more than 170 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere.