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German Natural Gas Giant to Invest Heavily in Hydrogen Infrastructure

Germany’s state-controlled firm Securing Energy for Europe (Sefe) plans to invest around $540 million (500 million euros) in repurposing some of its underground gas storage sites and gas pipelines into infrastructure fit for storing and transporting green hydrogen, Sefe’s CEO Egbert Laege told Reuters in an interview published on Wednesday.  

“The exact investment calculation is not yet available, but we are talking about sums in the mid-three-digit million-euro range for converting some of our gas storage sites to hydrogen,” Laege told Reuters.

SEFE, wholly owned by the German government, was created in 2022 after Germany saved a former Gazprom unit it had expropriated in April 2022 with a multi-billion-euro loan. Gazprom Germania was renamed Securing Energy for Europe GmbH (Sefe), to secure energy supply to Germany and Europe, the German government said at the time.

Currently, SEFE operates 5.6 billion cubic meters of gas storage caverns in Germany, or around a quarter of the country’s total gas storage capacity, according to Reuters estimates. The company is supplying natural gas to industry and gas distributors in Germany, the UK, and other European markets.

SEFE has created a new hydrogen department as it looks to further expand its activities in renewable energies “with the aim of decarbonizing its business model,” the company said at the end of last year.

In December, Sefe and Equinor signed one of the biggest-ever natural supply deals for Norway’s energy giant worth an estimated $54 billion (50 billion euros). The agreement also included a non-binding letter of intent with the intention that Sefe will become a long-term off-taker of giga-scale, low-carbon hydrogen supplies from Equinor starting in 2029 and continuing towards 2060.

“SEFE and Equinor share ambitious goals to accelerate the development of the hydrogen economy. This includes joint business opportunities related to transport and storage of hydrogen for the future,” Laege said at the time.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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