LONDON (Reuters) -BP has signed an agreement with Mauritania to explore ways to develop low-carbon hydrogen on a large scale in the West African country, the British energy company said on Tuesday.
The memorandum of understanding, which does not include a time frame or targets for the project, aims to build on BP's presence in a country where it is already developing a large liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility.
Under the plan, BP will initially study the feasibility of building onshore wind and solar farms that are required for production of green hydrogen, which is produced by electrolysis using renewable energy.
The studies will cover the availability and quality of wind and solar resources in large areas in the northwest of the country, said a statement from Mauritania's oil ministry.
The potential production capacity targeted by the project could reach up to 30 GW, for the production of 2 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of green hydrogen, if the studies are conclusive, it said.
"This is really the first phase of what we expect to be a pretty long-term development programme in Mauritania," BP's head of hydrogen, Felipe Arbelaez, told Reuters.
Later phases would focus on building electrolysis and then hydrogen export infrastructure, Arbelaez added.
The agreement was signed by Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani and BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney on the sidelines of the COP27 climate talks in the Egyptian coastal resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
BP is aiming for a sharp increase to hydrogen production under Looney's plan to shift the company away from oil and gas in the coming decades.
(Reporting by Ron Bousso; Additional reporting by Kissima Diagana in Nouakchott;Editing by David Goodman)