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Norway and Germany are working together to create the energy system of the future.

Together with German energy company RWE, we have presented a plan to replace German coal-fired power plants with gas-fired, hydrogen-ready power plants. The plan also describes how Norwegian low-carbon hydrogen and renewable hydrogen can be exported to Germany by pipeline.

Faced with the major societal and environmental challenges ahead of us, we believe it is essential to develop a decarbonised energy system for Europe that creates jobs, stimulates industry and ensures value creation – as well as providing energy for people and society.

Low carbon hydrogen and renewable hydrogen will reduce carbon emissions significantly.

Norway is the largest natural gas supplier to Europe, and Norwegian gas has the lowest carbon footprint compared with other gas supply alternatives.

Our collaboration aims to:

  • Strengthen energy security for Germany – Europe’s leading industrial country – in the short and long term
  • Offer a viable route to a necessary energy transition for hard-to-abate industries (steel, concrete, etc.)
  • Develop Norway – Europe’s leading supplier of natural gas – into a key supplier of hydrogen to Germany and Europe
  • Provide for the joint development of offshore wind farms to produce renewable hydrogen as a feedstock for power customers and other industrial customers in the future.

Should we ensure energy security or deliver on the energy transition?
We can do both — at the same time.

This is what the future energy system may look like:

Secure natural gas supply. Reducing coal power plants. Building hydrogen ready power plants.

Securing natural gas supplies
The cooperation between Equinor in Norway and RWE in Germany is based on a number of phases that will be important for the development of new infrastructure.

Phasing out coal-fired power plants
The building of new gas-fired, hydrogen-ready power plants will take place in accordance with Germany’s roadmap for phasing out coal-fired power plants. Equinor and RWE will jointly own the gas power plants.

Hydrogen-ready power plants
In the beginning, the gas-fired plants will run on natural gas. Later they will gradually phase in hydrogen as a feedstock, with the ambition of running entirely on hydrogen when volumes and technology are available.

Hydrogen production facilities. Carbon capture & storage.  Hydrogen export pipeline.

Hydrogen producing facilities
Facilities will be built in Norway for the production of low-carbon hydrogen from natural gas with carbon capture and storage.

Carbon capture & storage
Low-carbon hydrogen will be produced from Norwegian gas. Over 95% of CO2 from the gas will be removed during the production process on land in Norway. The CO2 will then be transported and stored safely under the seabed offshore Norway.

The low-carbon hydrogen will be transported from Norway to Germany via pipeline for use by large industrial customers.

Hydrogen export pipeline
The establishment of a pipeline will be essential for the reliable supply of hydrogen to both Germany and the EU as a whole. This is now being evaluated by Gassco and its partners in connection with a German-Norwegian feasibility study.

Offshore wind projects. Energy security

Offshore wind projects
The collaboration aims for the joint development of offshore wind farms to produce renewable hydrogen as a feedstock for power customers and other industrial customers in the future.

The hydrogen that the gas-fired, hydrogen-ready power plants will utilise will transition over time to be produced by offshore wind projects in Germany and Norway. It will lead to the delivery of fully decarbonised fuels and raw materials, supply to industrial sectors and support intermittent power generation from renewable energy sources. 

Energy security
Both RWE and Equinor aim to take leading positions in the energy transition. To achieve a fully decarbonized energy system, the parties depend on collaboration with governments, local authorities, regulators, communities, industry partners, suppliers and others.

RWE and Equinor - Map

How will this project take shape?

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Marketing, Midstream & Processing executive vice president Irene Rummelhoff explains how the project will develop and deliver.

Clean Hydrogen to Europe is a dedicated project working on fulfilling the ambition of developing large scale hydrogen production in Norway, to support and accelerate climate policy and industrial transformation

Through strategic collaboration between companies and countries we will strengthen the long-term energy security in Europe while at the same time offer a viable route to a necessary energy transition for hard to abate industries.

Hydrogen production from reforming of natural gas and export is a part of the MoU announced with the German energy company RWE, in January 2023. The collaboration has the potential to develop Norway into a key supplier of hydrogen to Germany and Europe. This is a unique opportunity to build a hydrogen industry in Norway where hydrogen also can be used as feedstock to domestic industries.

To be a leader in the energy transition and become a future energy center for Europe, the energy sector in Norway needs to adhere to the changes and criteria of a sustainable energy production. Clean Hydrogen to Europe is a response to the Norwegian government's ambitions within green industry development.

Industrial scale and reliable supply of hydrogen to Germany and the EU, depends on transport solutions for CO2 and H2. The plan is to construct a hydrogen pipeline from Norway to Germany. Gassco concluded recently that pipeline transport of hydrogen from Norway to Germany is technically feasible within 2030.

There is, however, a need for qualification of technology, such as compressors, valves and flow meters. This qualification can have an impact on the timeline as well as the cost. Additionally, there are other issues, such as clarification of regulatory model, technical and regulatory codes, standards and guidelines for cross-border offshore H2 pipelines, that need to be in place.

A pipeline would initially transport low carbon hydrogen, produced by natural gas and capturing more than 95 percent of the CO2, using existing and proven technologies.

A final site select for hydrogen production in Norway has not been decided, but both, Mongstad and Kollsnes are assessed to be attractive locations, as the project enables synergies with onshore development plans and can transform a high emissions asset to a low carbon industrial site.

The production ambition is 2,5 million tons of low carbon hydrogen p.a. and expected startup of production is 2030.

Read more about our Smeaheia project