OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian oil and gas firm Equinor said on Tuesday it had raised its hydrogen production goal in the United Kingdom to 1.8 gigawatts (GW), following a visit of Britain's Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to Oslo.
Equinor said it planned to add 1.2 GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity mainly to supply Keadby Hydrogen, the world's first major 100% hydrogen-fired power plant it is developing jointly with British utility SSE.
Pending support from the British government, the plant could start operations before the end of the decade, it added.
Equinor's Chief Executive Anders Opedal, who took part in a meeting with Kwarteng and Norway's Oil and Energy Minister Tina Bru, said its projects would help the UK achieve its climate goals.
"Our low-carbon projects in the UK build on our own industrial experience and will play a major role in setting the UK's industrial heartlands in a leading position," Opedal said in a statement.
Britain has a target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and 5 GW of clean hydrogen capacity by 2030, and is providing financial support to a number of decarbonisation projects.
Equinor is already planning to build a 0.6 GW capacity plant in north-eastern England to produce so-called "blue" hydrogen from natural gas, while capturing associated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
It is also involved in a project to develop CO2 transport and storage infrastructure in the region.
Clean hydrogen, produced from water by using renewable electricity or from natural gas in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCS), is seen vital to decarbonise industries such as steel and chemicals.
Today most hydrogen is produced from natural gas, while associated CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere.
(Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Nerijus Adomaitis and David Evans)