Santos and Tokyo Gas plan e-methane production in Australia

Australian LNG producer, Santos, and Japan’s city gas supplier and LNG importer, Tokyo Gas, are joining forces to produce e-methane in Australia and ship it to Japan.

E-methane is made by combining green hydrogen and CO2 obtained from carbon capture of industrial emissions or direct air capture (DAC) technology.

Santos said in a statement the advantage of e-methane for customers such as Tokyo Gas is that it has the same properties and chemistry as natural gas and can use existing gas pipelines, LNG facilities (including liquefaction, ships, tanks, and receiving terminals), and gas distribution networks.

E-methane can be a “carbon-neutral” substitute for natural gas and can be used in existing industrial processes, technologies and appliances, including for power generation, high-temperature heating, and chemicals manufacturing, it said.

First production in 2030

Santos, through its new energies business Santos Energy Solutions, with support from Tokyo Gas, will evaluate the potential to produce e-methane for export to Japan, leveraging extensive existing infrastructure, it said.

According to the firm, the partners target first production of e-methane for 2030.

The study will include technical analysis of renewable power, carbon dioxide and other feedstock sources, the methanation process (to make e-methane), cost and schedule evaluations, risk assessments, and commercialization options.

Moreover, the study will focus on the Cooper Basin which has vast renewable resource potential for making green hydrogen using electrolysis technology, where Santos is trialling DAC technology, it said.

Santos noted is also building one of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage projects at Moomba in the Cooper Basin and the project is on track for first injection in 2024.

Tokyo Gas is already a joint venture partner and customer in the Santos-operated Bayu-Undan and Darwin LNG projects.

The Japanese firm is also part of a consortium looking into the possibility of producing synthetic methane (e-methane) and liquefying it at Sempra’s Cameron LNG plant in the US.

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