Sarawak Energy, Petronas ink MoU for hydrogen production exploration

Abang Johari (seated third left) witnessing the signing of MoU documents between Sarawak Energy and Petronas virtually. Also seen are (from left) Ibrahim and Abdul Hamed.

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KUCHING, Nov 10: Sarawak Energy and Petronas signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today, formalising a collaboration to explore the commercial production of green hydrogen and its value supply chain in Asia.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg witnessed the virtual signing ceremony between both leading energy companies with Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy) represented by its group chief executive officer (CEO) Datu Sharbini Suhaili while Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) was represented by its vice-president and CEO for Gas and New Energy Adnan Zainal Abidin.

The MoU, according to Sarawak Energy in a media release, would initiate a joint techno-commercial evaluation of a large-scale hydrogen production facility.

The evaluation would cover the possibility of utilising Sarawak’s renewable hydropower in the electrolysis process to produce green hydrogen and in doing this, generate Renewable Energy Certificates in support of the renewable energy market.

Data sharing from this collaboration is expected to provide a measure and insights into the potential of a hydrogen supply chain in Asia.

This marked a significant milestone in Sarawak’s effort to scale up and venture into energy export with hydrogen as an energy carrier to meet global clean energy demand and position Sarawak as the hub for the hydrogen value chain.

Abang Johari addressing participant attending the virtual signing of the MoU between Sarawak Energy and Petronas.

With the collaboration, Abang Johari hoped that clean energy can become Sarawak’s main target in the state’s push to transform its economy and add value to the resources that the state has.

“The Sarawak government is always supportive of hydrogen-related collaborations and research as we firmly believe in the future of hydrogen as a competitive fuel source.

“As you know, we have started with Sarawak Energy and the relevant parties to explore the potential of hydrogen and how to produce hydrogen based on the renewable energy resources available in Sarawak,” he pointed out.

Although hydrogen production cost is currently high, Abang Johari however expressed confidence that hydrogen will have a key role in a future which is bending towards sustainable energy.

“Over time and with efficient production technology, there is a possibility that the (hydrogen) production cost will reduce so that it is competitive with other available fuels for the world,” he pointed out.

Commending Sarawak Energy and Petronas for collaborating to undertake the commercial study and identify the direction of hydrogen production and its significant role in the new economy that emphasises clean energy and the environment, Abang Johari added: “We can exploit its potential based on the world’s need and as a green approach.”

Meanwhile, Sharbini described the collaboration as another significant milestone for the energy corporation in line with Sarawak’s aspiration to venture into hydrogen production and utilisation across the various industries.

“Sarawak Energy believes strategic collaborations like this will benefit all of us in many ways including strengthening our research capabilities and broadening our knowledge in hydrogen-related technology and development as we adapt to the inevitable shift to renewables in the global energy landscape,” he added.

Moreover, he added that Petronas’ venture into the hydrogen business forms a part of the company’s newly declared aspiration of achieving Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 in support of the energy transition towards cleaner energy sources and as part of the company’s approach to sustainability which balances Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations.

The refueling station at Southeast Asia’s first integrated hydrogen production plant and refueling station in Kuching. Also seen is a hydrogen fuel-cell bus.

Petronas president and Group CEO Tengku Muhammad Taufik highlighted that the partnership with Sarawak Energy further elevated a four-decade long energy partnership with Sarawak that will now include hydrogen as a clean energy carrier.

“We are indeed privileged to begin a new chapter of our growth journey together with Sarawak that will transform the energy landscape in the state beyond hydrocarbon sources.

“Petronas has observed that hydrogen demand continues to gain pace due to its versatility as a near-zero emission fuel which can be used as industrial feedstock, as an energy carrier, for transportation fuel as well as for power and heat,” he said.

On the back of its experience in producing blue hydrogen which Petronas currently extracts from by-products at its facilities in the country, Taufik added: “We are excited to explore further infrastructure development to produce blue and green hydrogen to provide reliable supply of clean energy moving forward.”

With the strategic locations of its facilities across East and West Malaysia, Petronas has proximity advantage to key hydrogen demand markets such as Japan and Korea.

Petronas’ hydrogen business joined the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Gas and Power and New Energy businesses under the company’s Gas and New Energy (GNE) division, which is the company’s one-stop centre for cleaner energy solutions.

Also present to witness the virtual MoU signing ceremony were Sarawak Energy chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi and Petronas board of directors member Datuk Ibrahim Baki. — DayakDaily