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Provaris eyes pan-European ‘floating pipeline’ for compressed hydrogen

Australia’s Provaris (ASX:PV1) is looking to become a leader in the hydrogen midstream space, with eyes set on a fleet of vessels that would create Europe’s first supply lines for compressed green hydrogen.

Headquartered in Perth, Australia, the group hopes to open up regional green hydrogen markets in Australia, East Asia and now Europe – with a compelling business case that eschews large-volume liquefaction or conversion in favour of smaller, cheaper and more efficient compression technology.

Formed in 2016 as Global Energy Ventures (GEV), the company was focused on developing a midstream business to deliver a commercial supply chain for compressed natural gas (CNG) in various regional export markets, using a brand-new class of vessel.

Its proposition was that compression technology allowed for export of gas at lower volumes and vastly reduced cost than that needed to make liquefied natural gas (LNG) economic.

Speaking with Energy Voice, managing director and chief executive Martin Carolan explained the rationale: “Compression was looked at as a low capital, cost-efficient way to move gas but it was limited in its regional distance. 500 to 1,000 nautical miles was its barrier and up to probably about 1 million tonnes of LNG equivalent,

“It was seen as niche to be fair, but there were some tremendous niche opportunities where you’re moving gas as an alternative to pipeline.”

However, the subsequent fall in gas prices and the move towards energy transition projects led the team to reposition its identity and its plans towards another fuel – clean hydrogen – which was equally well-suited to the business model.

Since that time Provaris has added a development team in Calgary and a new technical and commercial office in Oslo, in pursuit of several European work streams. It has also secured the backing of some of the world’s most influential energy majors, who also see the potential for regional hydrogen markets.

“2,000 nautical miles – and in the future with a larger vessel, 3,000 nautical miles – is kind of the extent,” noted Mr Carolan. “We can go much further, but really we are a regional play.”