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Gas giant Santos studies ‘blue hydrogen’ expansion

Santos is exploring the potential to produce hydrogen out of natural gas at its operations in the Cooper Basin, becoming the latest gas giant to eye an expansion into the fuel that many believe is primed to play a crucial role in the world’s future energy mix.

As energy companies in Australia and globally ramp up investment in nascent hydrogen technology, Santos said it had engaged prominent consultancy firm GHD to conduct a study for a pilot program in its Cooper Basin operations for the production of “blue hydrogen”. Blue hydrogen is hydrogen created from natural gas that also uses carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to capture the emissions caused in the conversion process.

Santos' Moomba petroleum and natural gas plant in South Australia's Cooper Basin.

Santos’ Moomba petroleum and natural gas plant in South Australia’s Cooper Basin.Credit:Brendan Esposito

Chief executive Kevin Gallagher said the Cooper Basin hydrogen concept study would build on the company’s progress towards a 1.7 million-tonne carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

“Carbon capture and storage is the fastest and most efficient route to a hydrogen economy,
using less water, de-carbonising natural gas at its source and eliminating scope 3 emissions (emissions caused by customers of the fuel),” he said.

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