IGas has announced a partnership with a US company to turn methane extracted from sites in south east England into hydrogen.
In a statement today, IGas said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with New Mexico-based BayoTech, which supplies modular systems to generate hydrogen on site.
IGas said it had:
“initially identified two of its existing sites, in the South East, where the gas resource can be reformed into hydrogen which will then be sold to local or national customers.”
Asked by DrillOrDrop which sites had been identified, a spokesperson said:
“We have not yet stated which sites.”
The company’s chief executive, Steve Bowler, said today:
“Preliminary engineering work has confirmed that gas at these sites is suitable for BayoTech’s innovative, modular system.
“We look forward to working with BayoTech to be well placed in the growing hydrogen economy which will add value to our existing gas resource through the delivery of cost effective hydrogen.”
About half of IGas oil and gas production comes from the Weald Basin in southern England. It has 10 producing wells in the region but only Albury in Surrey is a gas site. Others are mainly oil sites, including Stockbridge in Hampshire, Singleton in West Sussex and Palmers Wood, in Surrey.
Production of hydrogen from methane releases carbon emissions. IGas said BayoTech’s equipment was more efficient and had lower carbon emissions than traditional hydrogen processes which use high pressure steam.
But asked by DrillOrDrop how IGas would capture, store or use the released carbon, the company said the hydrogen would initially be grey. This is hydrogen made from fossil fuels without carbon capture technologies.
The IGas spokesperson said the hydrogen would produce less CO2 because it would be used locally and would not be transported long distances.
The spokesperson added that the plan was “to utilise CCS [carbon capture and storage] and get to blue hydrogen”.
Green hydrogen, the cleanest of the three types, is made by separating water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis, powered by renewable energy.
Today’s statement also said this was a further step in IGas’s strategy to be “well placed in the energy transition”.
Last month, IGas announced it had acquired a geothermal firm with plans to use redundant oil and gas wells for deep geothermal energy.
IGas is not the first UK onshore gas company to publicly talk about turning methane into hydrogen. Over a year ago, Cuadrilla said shale gas was “at the heart of the hydrogen economy”. The company’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said:
“We recognise that carbon capture and storage and hydrogen production are critical if the UK is to meet its net-zero emissions target. To that end we are engaging with a number of existing initiatives so that that UK shale gas rather than imported gas can and will be a vital source of emission free UK energy by 2050.”
Since then, there have been no further public statements on the subject from Cuadrilla.