What place for Morocco in the global hydrogen map?

Philippe Copinschi, lecturer at Sciences Po Paris and expert in international and African energy issues, answered our questions on the hydrogen market in the future.

– In the coming decade, should we expect a hydrogen market comparable to those of oil and gas?

– Yes, in the sense that we can foresee the development of a global hydrogen market, probably over the next twenty years. We will have a situation with importing countries, exporting countries, and a certain dependence: the importing countries needing to ensure security of supply, the exporting countries eventually becoming dependent on the income generated by hydrogen exports.

In this, we find parallels with the gas market. The technical means and the tools that we can consider putting in place on the side of the importing countries will be more or less the same: that is to say, trying to diversify the supply, setting up strategic reserves to make in the face of unforeseen circumstances, etc.

However, there are three fundamental differences. The first is that we can probably do without hydrogen, but not oil. Oil today is in a monopoly situation in the transport sector. Second, we are moving towards a regional market rather than a global one. And finally, for gas and oil, we are dependent on geology. This is not the case with hydrogen.

– Will there also be a geopolitics of supply routes?

– For the moment, we are in speculation. We are talking about a horizon of 2040, or even 2050, for the development of a substantial market. There are countries like Australia or Chile that will do it by boat, because they have no other choice. Morocco can bet on gas pipelines and ships. But today, no one is able to say what will be the best solution.

-What are the determining factors for the success of a hydrogen export strategy?

– There is of course the wind and the sun, as well as the availability of water. Welcoming investors requires political, legal and economic stability. There is another less-discussed element, and that is social acceptability. Will the population agree to direct part of its energy to export? For Morocco, for example, wouldn’t the priority be to decarbonize electricity first?

Collected by SC

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