Russia Gathers Firms to develop Hydrogen Industry

The Russian government has established a working group of industrial firms and ministries to design and implement a plan for the country to secure a share in global hydrogen production and trade.

The working group unites state-run and some privately-owned firms from a range of industries with the ministries of energy, transport, industry and trade, science and education, economic development and foreign affairs. Several Russian scientific institutions and state bank VEB are also members.

The private sector is represented by gas firm Novatek, petrochemicals producer Sibur and investment group Sistema. State-owned enterprises include nuclear corporation Rosatom, oil and gas producer Rosneft, gas giant Gazprom and its oil arm Gazpromneft, heavy-duty trucks manufacturer Kamaz and its owner, industrial group Rostec, as well as nanotechnologies corporation Rosnano.

Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak is the head of the working group. It was officially created by a decree signed by prime minister Mikhail Mishustin on 17 July and published this week, although the government has been working on a program of hydrogen development for some time. A framework document prepared last year by the energy ministry — a roadmap to develop the hydrogen energy sector — received government approval in October 2020. This happened shortly before Novak became deputy prime minister in November 2020. He served as energy minister from May 2012.

Novak said in early June that Russia wants a 20pc share of the world’s future hydrogen market, and that the government may approve a plan in the next two months. This plan is likely to present several scenarios for Russian hydrogen production and exports, depending on the pace of global demand growth. Last year, in its energy strategy to 2035, Russia set a target of exporting 200,000t of hydrogen in 2024 and 2mn t in 2035.

But deputy energy minister Pavel Sorokin said in April this year that if the global market develops faster, Russia might become an exporter of 1mn t/yr of hydrogen in 2024 and 7mn t/yr in 2035. In a more distant perspective Russia may be exporting 7.9mn-33.4mn t/yr by 2050, again depending on the pace of demand growth, according to Sorokin.

In the newly-created working group on hydrogen, Sorokin is one of Novak’s deputies.

Russian officials including Novak said earlier this year that there is a scope for joint projects on hydrogen with companies from Germany, France, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

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