Canadian petroleum transport and storage company Inter Pipeline (IPL), Japan’s Itochu Corporation, and Petronas Energy Canada are jointly investigating setting up world scale blue ammonia and blue methanol production facilities in Canada.
The three companies are considering construction two facilities in Alberta using natural gas as a feedstock, and capturing and storing produced CO2. Ammonia is an efficient method of transporting hydrogen, while methanol is an important chemical feedstock and is being investigated for use as a fuel, for example for shipping. Blue ammonia and methanol are useful low-carbon alternatives to conventional ‘grey’ ammonia and methanol produced without carbon capture. The products will be transported by rail.
The feasibility study will look at minimising emissions, sequestering the CO2 in underground storage, access to adequate pore space to store emissions and the economics of this. Development of the project will be dependent on a risk assessment which will also be carried out by the partners, and a commercial arrangement. They expect to reach a final investment decision in early 2024, with construction beginning in late 2024, and operations commencing in 2027. If it goes ahead, the project is expected to create 20,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase and 300 skilled permanent jobs.
The partners say that one of the target markets for blue ammonia is Japan. The country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) has included the use of both hydrogen and ammonia as part of its plans reach net zero by 2050. The Canadian government has a free trade relationship with Japan and sees this an a significant opportunity for Canadian ammonia producers. Canada is already in the top-10 ammonia producing countries in the world.
‘This project would be among the first of its kind in North America,’ said Inter Pipeline president and CEO Brian Baker. ‘Once operational, these facilities would be at the forefront of diversifying Canada’s abundant supply of raw resources by converting them to value-added, energy transition products to supply growing global markets with low or no-carbon fuel and energy products.’
(Source: Tank Storage Magazine)