Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Gas have teamed up with Malaysia’s national oil company, Petronas, to conduct a feasibility study to establish a supply chain of carbon-neutral methane to Japan.

The fuel will be produced in Malaysia by methanation, using green hydrogen from renewable energy and carbon dioxide.

The trio will join forces to contribute towards carbon neutrality by introducing carbon-neutral methane as an alternative energy source for the Japanese market.

Tokyo Gas said that synthetic methane is gaining popularity as a gas for heating, as it contributes positively to decarbonisation in line with the Japanese government’s target to realise "carbon neutrality and [a] decarbonised society in 2050".

Stay a step ahead with the Upstream News app
Read high quality news and insight on the oil and gas business and its energy transition on-the-go. The News app offers you more control over your Upstream reading experience than any other platform.

Methanation is the technology whereby hydrogen and CO2 chemically react to produce methane, which is a major component of city gas.

Carbon-neutral methane is made with hydrogen produced from renewable energy and CO2. The CO2 emitted when carbon-neutral methane is combusted and the CO2 separated or captured will be offset. Therefore, CO2 emissions will not increase by using the gas.

Carbon-neutral methane synthesised with the methanation technology will realise the use of high caloric energy “by known technics” without increasing CO2 emissions from production through its ultimate use, Tokyo Gas said.

This process can also be carried out using existing infrastructure such as natural gas liquefaction plants, liquefied natural gas carriers and city gas supply facilities.