The project concerns what some describe as ‘white’ hydrogen, which is ‘naturally occurring’ geological hydrogen found in underground deposits and released through processes such as fracking, for example.

Despite offering what is considering ‘zero-carbon’ hydrogen, this ‘white’ shade of the gas cannot generally be easily captured and questions will also be raised as to the clean or zero-carbon credentials of the product given that it is tied to a geological drilling process or in the worst-case scenario, to fracking itself.

In this instance, HyTerra and NH2E have explained that the project will involve installing an electrical submersible pump (ESP) which will dewater the well, therefore removing hydrostatic pressure on subsurface gases, it is hoped hydrogen enriched gases will be able to flow freely from two prospective zones in the well.

Service providers are currently preparing to mobilise a rig and supporting equipment ahead of an extended flow test at the Hoarty NE2 natural hydrogen exploration well. The test will measure hydrogen production potential and key parameters of gas composition, pressure, and flow rate.

HyTerra and NH2E have said data from the well will be measured continuously, with gas samples set to be sent for independent laboratory analysis to focus on the concentration of hydrogen, as well as other non-hydrocarbon gases, such as helium.

In December (2022), Avon McIntyre, Executive Director of HyTerra, said, “These upcoming operations are a step forward for not only our joint venture, but the wider natural hydrogen industry as the first proper flow test of a wildcat exploration well intentionally targeting natural hydrogen.”

McIntyre added, “The data collected will be critical to establishing a contingent resource estimate for the project and will also accelerate our understanding of natural hydrogen systems for future exploration.”

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