Trans Adriatic Pipeline Explores Feasibility of Blending Hydrogen

By Stephen Jewkes

MILAN (Reuters) - Developers of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) have started feasibility studies on blending hydrogen with the natural gas the pipeline will bring in from Azerbaijan, the TAP head said.

Welding during TAP construction in the Korca region of Albania. (photo: Trans Adriatic Pipeline)

"The company has kicked off a technical study and we hope to be in a position to make a first assessment by the end of June next year," TAP managing director Luca Schieppati told Reuters on Wednesday.

TAP is the final leg of a $40 billion project named the Southern Gas Corridor, which will carry 10 billion cubic metres of gas per year from the giant Shah Deniz field into Europe.

The pipeline, already commercially operative, is set to start pumping its first gas into Italy at the end of this year.

Schieppati said any commitment on hydrogen blending could come in tandem with a decision, expected in July 2021, on the possible doubling of the infrastructure's gas capacity.

Hydrogen is seen as an energy source that could partly replace natural gas in future, helping to cut emissions provided it is produced using renewable power and is therefore carbon-free.

TAP shareholders include BP, Azerbaijan’s SOCAR, Snam, Fluxys, Enagás and Axpo.

Many gas grid companies around the world are committing to a wider use of hydrogen as a way to extend the long-term life of their infrastructure because of increasing requirements to move away from fossil fuel, such as gas.

Snam, Europe's biggest gas pipeline operator, has been experimenting with a 10% mix of hydrogen in part of its gas network and has said 70% of its grid is "hydrogen ready".

Earlier this year it reached a deal with SOCAR to study the possible use of renewable gases for delivery through the Southern Gas Corridor.

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