Malaysian state-run giant Petronas is partnering with Tokyo-based Eneos to explore potential hydrogen opportunities and develop supply chains.

Petronas revealed Friday it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Eneos to explore "low-carbon" hydrogen production from Petronas’ petrochemical facilities and, in the future, green hydrogen produced by renewable energy.

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The MoU also covers a technical-commercial joint-study to develop a competitive, “clean hydrogen" supply chain between Malaysia and Japan.

Green vs Blue

Blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas feedstocks, with the carbon dioxide by-product from hydrogen production captured and stored. However, the process is not emissions free.

Green hydrogen is made using electrolysis powered by renewable energy to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, creating an emissions-free fuel.

The study will include hydrogen production and its transportation in methylcyclohexane form, which entails converting hydrogen from its original gaseous state into a liquid form to enable large volume deliveries.

Petronas noted that the development of liquid organic hydrogen carrier technology was starting to gain traction due to its chemically stable nature that allows for long-term storage and long-distance transport.

It also provides the ability to leverage existing conventional oil and petrochemicals infrastructure, reducing the need to develop new assets and increasing its viability for established energy players to implement, according to Petronas.

Building on existing relationship

The MoU builds on a three-decade relationship the two companies have already established, largely in the liquefied natural gas space.

“More importantly, this partnership is a testament of how industry collaboration can help accelerate our shared aspiration towards a low carbon future,” said Petronas Gas & New Energy chief executive officer Adnan Zainal Abidin.

“With emerging clean energy sources like hydrogen, innovation and collaboration with partners in technological development are key, as they contribute towards achieving cost competitiveness and scalability for wider use across businesses and industries.”

Petronas also confirmed Friday the new deal with Eneos had seen the pair apply for funding from the Japanese government’s Green Innovation Fund, which sponsors decarbonisation projects and initiatives.

The Japanese government is looking to lower its use of fossil fuels, while increasing the amount of renewable power in its energy mix, as it targets carbon neutrality by 2050.

Petronas already produces what it terms “low carbon” blue hydrogen as a by-product from its existing facilities and it is looking to explore commercial production of green hydrogen “in the near future”, as it also looks to achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2050.

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