WPC 2023 Day Two: What Matters Most in Hydrogen Production and CCUS

Bennett Jones LLP

Bennett Jones LLP

On Day Two of the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary, Kevin Myson and Jessica Kennedy spoke about what matters the most in hydrogen production in Canada and why carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCUS) plays such an important part.

Key Takeaways

  • The focus on hydrogen production should not be on the colours of green, blue or grey. What matters is the carbon intensity associated with the production of a product, including hydrogen, other energy sources and materials. This is what should determine whether governments and businesses are meeting their goals in reducing emissions. The goal of trying to make hydrogen a viable, low-emissions part of our energy supply chain applies across the colour "spectrum."
  • A solution in one jurisdiction is not necessarily a solution in another jurisdiction. Alberta, for example, has the opportunity to take existing experience and expertise in blue hydrogen production and accelerate it. The province has the natural gas infrastructure and CCUS technology and storage resources that gives it the ability to reduce emissions in hydrogen production. Other jurisdictions may not have the natural gas infrastructure, but do have hydroelectric power that they can use to produce hydrogen.
  • CCUS is a game-changing technology in hydrogen production. It allows the focus to be on carbon intensity.
  • We do not necessarily have to wait for hydrogen to be mainstream among various consumer groups before moving forward on projects. Supply and demand can grow in parallel, with a focus in the near-term on serving existing industrial demands for hydrogen and specific corporate needs (e.g. a specific vehicle fleet or industrial process). As an example of demand growth, in April 2023, the Edmonton Region Hydrogen HUB announced the launch of an initiative aimed at getting 5,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road in western Canada within five years. We expect there to be more initiatives like this in the future across Canada.
  • Lessons will be learned from test projects on what works best and what does not in specific industries and jurisdictions. Successes and steps will build on each other. It will likely take some time, however, for technologies to be assessed and decisions to be made on which ones will be the best solutions moving forward.
  • While the federal government is undertaking steps to encourage and support industry, policies are still lagging behind technology. Industry has led and will continue to lead the change. They have the ideas that will create the technology and innovation. Industry also plays an important role in educating the policy decision-makers to ensure informed policies and regulations are implemented.

On Day Three of WPC 2023, one of Bennett Jones' Knowledge Connect sessions will look at digital innovation in global energy.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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