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South Korea steelmaker mulls hydrogen, green steel venture in Oman




South Korean steelmaking giant POSCO Holdings has announced that it is weighing investment in a mega green hydrogen project, alongside a green steel mill, at Duqm in the southeast of the Sultanate of Oman.

The revelation came at the Korea-Oman Green Hydrogen Strategic Forum 2022 held the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday, December 5, 2022. The forum was organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Sultanate of Oman with the support of H2Korea, the hydrogen convergence alliance of Korea.

Speaking at the event, Juik Cho, Executive Vice President (Hydrogen Business) at POSCO Holdings, said a heavyweight consortium is being assembled to bid for available acreage offered up by the Omani government under a newly launched public auction programme for the development of green hydrogen projects in Oman.

“Based on the results of our feasibility study performed in Duqm, we are going to submit our (proposal) for the land acquisition auction,” said Cho. “We are not alone in this endeavour; on the contrary we going to put together the most competitive consortium by forging a partnership of POSCO Holdings and Korean companies with a sizeable demand for hydrogen, as well as global IPP (Independent Power Project) companies and engineering companies.”

Oman’s Duqm zone, the official said, is among six “strategic locations” around the world that are being keenly investigated by POSCO Holdings as potential sites for green hydrogen projects

. Green hydrogen from these investments, or its derivatives, will primarily go towards decarbonising POSCO’s industries in South Korea. But, in addition, POSCO is also exploring the potential for establishing plants for the production of green hot briquetted iron (HBI) — the primary raw material for steel mills — in cost-competitive locations.

“We are planning to produce 7 million tonnes of hydrogen per year by 2050. That is to cover 5 million tonnes of our captive demand, while over 2 million tonnes of hydrogen will be earmarked for sales.

For this reason, we have selected six strategic locations or countries — Korea, Malaysia, the Middle East, India and Australia. Among these six strategic locations, Oman is one the most important for POSCO Holdings,” Cho stated.

“If the hydrogen production cost in Oman is found to be competitive enough, we can also consider having green HBI production in Oman as well. And to that end, we are conducting a study with one of the most competitive iron ore companies in the world.

Together with our steelworks and power plants in Korea, we are also looking into the possibility of building hydrogen infrastructure, for which a feasibility study is going on as well,” he further noted.

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