Wholly state-owned OQ Gas Networks (OQGN) – the sole owner and operator of Oman’s national gas transportation system – envisions significant roles for itself in the successful realization of a hydrogen-centric economy, as well as a future carbon sequestration industry in the Sultanate of Oman - both linked to the nation’s Net Zero strategy.
OQGN – a subsidiary of OQ Group – is preparing to offer 49 per cent of its share capital via a mega public subscription set to open on Muscat Stock Exchange (MSX) on September 26, 2023. The company has already garnered pledges of support from three prominent Anchor Investors in a robust affirmation of its strong positioning in Oman’s gas-based energy transportation industry.
“OQGN, with its extensive experience and exclusive rights in building and operating gas infrastructure, could contribute significantly to the development of the infrastructure needed to grow a hydrogen sector, and is likely going to be the partner-of-choice for any hydrogen and CO2 pipeline network. Indeed, OQGN has already been approached by leading industry partners to support with their CCS (Carbon Capture & Storage) commitments,” the gas transporter said.
Underscoring this anticipated role for OQGN in Oman’s future green hydrogen economy, the company signed an MoU with Hydrom, the nation’s hydrogen industry master-planner and orchestrator, to explore the development of a pipeline network to support the transportation and storage of green hydrogen from production sites to utilization and export hubs.
While the suitability of OQGN’s massive 4,000km gas network for green hydrogen transportation is yet to be fully ascertained, the company says there’s a “strong economic case” for upgrading existing gas pipelines, thereby averting decommissioning before the end of their technical lifetimes.
Another option for consideration is the blending of hydrogen into gas streams in the interim until time that large-scale investments in dedicated hydrogen pipelines become justified.
A feasibility study commissioned by OQGN in this regard found that the introduction of hydrogen in the National Gas Transportation Network (NGTN) would have “few constraints from a pipeline integrity perspective”, but up to a blending limit of 10 per cent hydrogen. But in light of end-user concerns about the use of blended gas in their respective operations, blending can only be considered in limited customized networks, according to the company.
Hydrogen is anticipated to replace natural gas as a primary fuel source in some industrial processes, such as steel production, says OQGN. Blue hydrogen, on the other hand (produced using gas a feedstock, with emissions captured and stored), has the potential to be utilized in petrochemical production, such as ammonia/urea and methanol. CO2 captured in the process will need to be transported by pipeline to carbon sinks – opportunities that open up potential roles for OQGN in these activities.
CO2 capture and sequestration has the potential to play a vital role in reducing the carbon footprint of the upstream operations, power and industrial sectors, according to OQGN.
With the installation of dedicated pipelines, carbon captured from gas-fired power generation and traditional industrial processes, such as cement manufacturing, can be transported to depleted gas fields, for example, for reinjection and storage.
But to implement large-scale CCS projects, new pipeline infrastructure will be required in light of the corrosive nature of CO2, and specialist stainless steel and nickel alloys would have to be used, it added.