Japan’s Inpex has taken the final investment decision on drilling operations and the construction of facilities for its Kashiwazaki clean hydrogen and ammonia project to be implemented at its Higashi-Kashiwazaki producing gas field onshore Niigata prefecture in Japan.

The project is expected to involve the transportation of gas produced at the field to the Hirai area via an existing pipeline, and the production of 700 tonnes per annum of blue hydrogen at a new facility.

Part of this hydrogen will be used to produce blue ammonia with the remainder being utilised for power generation. The CO2 generated during the production of hydrogen and ammonia will be separated, pressurised and injected into a subsurface gas reservoir as a carbon capture, utilisation and storage project.

Inpex said this will be Japan’s first demonstration project integrating blue hydrogen and ammonia production and usage, and one of the few in the world to have sanctioned construction of an actual production plant, as most of the proposed blue hydrogen and ammonia production projects currently remain in the conceptual or planning stages.

“It is also an important project from the perspective of Japan’s energy security as it will produce clean energy from domestically sourced gas,” claimed the company.

The project’s hydrogen and ammonia production and CO2 recovery project will be subsidised by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a national research and development agency.

Jogmec rebrands

Inpex also will conduct joint research with the recently rebranded Jogmec (now the Japan Organisation for Metals and Energy Security) on the evaluation and implementation of subsurface storage of CO2, particularly at depleted oil and gas fields. This evaluation with Jogmec is expected to start soon through to the end of the 2025 fiscal year.

Inpex plans to commercialise three or more such projects by around 2030 with the aim of producing at least 100,000 tpa of hydrogen and ammonia, while also targeting an annual CO2 injection volume of 2.5 million tonnes or more at that time.

The current aim is that the Kashiwazaki pilot project will lead Inpex to a commercial blue hydrogen project linked to the company’s gas fields and existing infrastructure in Niigata prefecture around the end of the decade. Inpex noted it is looking to produce ammonia using a recently developed low-temperature, low-pressure synthesis process.

The demonstration project is also intended to confirm the viability of enhanced gas recovery via CO2 injection, with Inpex having both domestic and international projects in its sights.

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