16 Feb 2021 15:27

Industry and Trade Ministry to extend SPIC mechanism to hydrogen contracts

MOSCOW. Feb 16 (Interfax) - Russia's Industry and Trade Ministry intends to include hydrogen technology in the list of priority technologies for special investment contracts (SPIC), Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said at a conference on strategic cooperation between Russia and Germany on Tuesday.

"We plan to include hydrogen technologies in the list of priority technologies for special investment contracts. I am sure that it will be interesting for all Russian and German companies working in this area," he said.

"We are ready for serious joint work along this vector, including development and production of equipment, as well as implementation of infrastructure projects for production, storage and transportation of hydrogen," the minister said, addressing representatives of German business.

The signing of a SPIC provides guarantees for an investor in terms of the invariability of project implementation conditions, including tax terms. The investor assumes the obligation to create serial industrial production on the basis of modern technologies from a special Industry and Trade Ministry list. In late 2020, the ministry began a campaign for the signing of the first special investment contracts under the updated SPIC 2.0 model (it envisages competitive selection of participants, an absence of requirements for minimal investment volume, long contract terms of up to 15 years for investments of up to 50 billion rubles and up to 20 years for projects worth over 50 billion rubles).

German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) Martin Wansleben emphasized the importance of cooperation in the field of hydrogen energy during the conference on Tuesday.

Cooperation between Russian and German companies in the implementation of hydrogen projects has been discussed previously. At the end of last year, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin said that Russia was doing "serious work with German companies that produce equipment and have developed technologies in the field of hydrogen energy. "Now we are identifying projects that are in the last stages of readiness to find opportunities for cooperation in each of the segments of the hydrogen chain: production, transportation and consumption," he said.

For his part, managing director of Wintershall Dea Russia and head of the hydrogen initiative group at the Russian-German Chamber of Foreign Trade (WTP) Thorsten Murin confirmed the readiness of German businesses to cooperate. "Using hydrogen as a sustainable energy source, we want to and will continue the energy partnership between Germany and Russia, which has been successfully developing for decades, primarily in the gas and oil sectors," he said last November.

Large Russian energy companies are interested in development of hydrogen technology. In particular, Gazprom sees such projects as one of the vectors for use of natural gas. "This energy source [hydrogen] can be efficiently used in power generation, industry and transport - industries with the highest CO2 emissions. Currently, a significant amount of hydrogen is produced from methane, and in the future, thanks to the development and improvement of hydrogen production technologies from natural gas, as well as technologies of carbon capture, carbon dioxide disposal and further use of carbon, natural gas can become an important element of the "hydrogen economy," Gazprom wrote in its quarterly report published on Monday.