Mauritania has signed a landmark deal with energy transition player Chariot that outlines the next steps for the company’s ambitious 10-gigawatt green hydrogen development know as Project Nour.

Chariot — which also has a sizeable gas asset offshore Morocco — unveiled its green hydrogen plan for northern Mauritania last year since when it has been putting the building blocks in place to get the project off the ground and is also talking to potential partners.

The framework agreement to map out the next development phases was signed by Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Mines & Energy — on behalf of the government — and Chariot following the successful completion of a pre-feasibility study (PFS).

This agreement will define the terms and guiding principles to pave the way for a more in-depth feasibility study that will be carried out over the next 24 months.

According to Chariot, the PFS confirmed Mauritania is “exceptionally well-placed” for green hydrogen production due to its “world-class” solar and wind resources and that the project has the potential to produce “some of the cheapest” green hydrogen in the world.

Project Nour could become one of the largest green hydrogen projects globally by 2030, the London-listed player said, partly because it would be close to large European markets and hydrogen entry points such as Rotterdam port with which Chariot recently signed a partnership agreement to sell green hydrogen and derivative products into Europe.

For Mauritania, the project would provide baseload power to the national grid, diversify industrial activities, create jobs and develop local infrastructure, Chario said.

Commenting on the framework deal, Minister of Petroleum Abdessalam Ould Mohamed said: “We are very pleased the PFS has confirmed the world-class potential of Project Nour, both in its unique capacity to generate green hydrogen and for the broader development opportunities that it could bring to Mauritania.

“It is exciting to be looking to harness our natural resources in this way and Chariot has our full support as they progress this through the detailed feasibility studies.”

Chariot’s acting chief executive Adonis Pouroulis added: “Green hydrogen is a strategic priority for Chariot and will form a substantial part of the global energy transition going forward.

“We also believe that progressing this project will result in significant investment in Mauritania and benefit the region as a whole. The results of the PFS have underlined our belief in the economics and scale of this asset.”

Speaking at Frontier's Africa Energies Summit in London last week, Pouroulis remarked that it is still unclear how the hydrogen market will develop in the coming years.

“We don’t really know exactly how hydrogen is going to evolve in the energy transition. But we do know it will play a fundamental role in the energy mix,” he said.

He added that for green hydrogen to be a commercial success, it has to compete with rival fuels on price.

“The holy grail to be successful in green hydrogen is that you’ve got to bring the cost of green hydrogen down to $2 per kilogramme. No one is there yet, but in order to get to that magic number, you need wind sun, land and access to water,” all of which, he said, Mauritania has in abundance.

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