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Pembina and Marubeni announce low-carbon ammonia project in Alberta

| By Mary Bailey

Pembina Pipeline Corp. (Calgary, Canada) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Marubeni Corporation to progress an end-to-end, low-carbon ammonia supply chain from Western Canada to Japan and other Asian markets. The Project includes the joint development of a world-scale, low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia production facility (the “Facility”) to be sited on Pembina-owned lands adjacent to its Redwater Complex in the Alberta Industrial Heartland near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

“This project represents a transformative opportunity that is highly aligned with Pembina’s strategic priorities, including supporting global decarbonization efforts by exporting low-carbon energy derived from natural gas responsibly produced in Western Canada,” said Stu Taylor, Pembina’s Senior Vice President & Corporate Development Officer. “The Project is an example of Pembina’s ability to leverage its existing asset base and core competencies to develop new integrated value chains, including carbon capture, utilization and storage (“CCUS”) and low-carbon energy such as hydrogen, and ammonia as a hydrogen carrier and fuel source. Marubeni has deep expertise in areas critical to the success of the Project and we are delighted to be working with them to facilitate the global movement towards greater use of low-carbon ammonia and to support Japan’s decarbonization strategy.”

Demand for low-carbon ammonia in Japan and other Asian markets is expected to grow substantially given its efficiency as a carrier of hydrogen and use as a low-carbon fuel source. Ammonia is one of the most widely produced synthetical chemicals in the world today and the production technology and handling are well understood and established. Alberta is the leading region in Canada for existing ammonia production and the Project is another opportunity to support development of a hydrogen and low-carbon economy.

“The Project will leverage access to existing infrastructure and benefit from Canada’s abundant natural gas supply, advantaged West Coast shipping access to Asia, and growing carbon capture and sequestration industry. Pembina has a long history and strong reputation as a leading Canadian energy infrastructure provider and we are honoured to be working together as partners in the establishment of a low-carbon fuel supply chain from Canada to Japan,” said Yoshiaki Yokota, Marubeni’s Chief Executive Officer, Energy & Infrastructure Solution Group.

Initial feasibility studies have been completed and the Facility has an anticipated design capacity of up to 185 kilotonnes per annum of low-carbon hydrogen production, which will be converted into approximately one million tonnes per year of low-carbon ammonia. The Facility is contemplated to utilize innovative technology to capture a significant amount of the CO2 emissions with the potential for integrated transportation and sequestration on the proposed Alberta Carbon Grid being developed by Pembina and TC Energy. The low-carbon ammonia would be transported via rail to Canada’s West Coast and shipped to Japan and other Asian markets.

Pembina and Marubeni will utilize their complementary strengths to develop and execute the Project. Pembina brings its expertise in Western Canadian energy infrastructure development, construction and operations, rail logistics and export. Marubeni, a globally leading independent power producer and integrated trading conglomerate, will leverage its marketing and marine logistics capabilities, and is expected to contract for offtake from the Facility, which will be used to supply Marubeni-owned and other Japanese utility power plants. Under the MOA, Pembina and Marubeni will focus on completing work critical to the development of the Project, including preliminary Front End Engineering Design (“pre-FEED”), engagement with various stakeholders, including governments in Canada and Japan, and commercial activities. The Project is expected to be structured as an infrastructure-style, fee-based business with investment grade counterparties. Pre-FEED work is currently expected to be completed by early 2024.