Repsol seeks EU funds to develop biofuels, 'green' hydrogen, hydropower

FILE PHOTO: A Repsol logo at a petrol station in Bormujos near the Andalusian capital of Seville, southern Spain March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Repsol is bidding for European pandemic recovery funds to support projects including new biofuel plants and ‘green’ hydrogen production made from renewable sources in a pivot away from oil and gas to supplying low-carbon energy.

Spain and Italy, due the biggest chunks of Europe’s 750 billion euro ($884 billion) lifeline in recognition of the damage the pandemic caused their economies, have invited companies to propose projects that could help wean their economies off carbon.

Repsol responded by putting forward 30 projects which it calculates will need total investment of 5.96 billion euros, the company said on Friday.

They include a plant Repsol has agreed in partnership with oil giant Saudi Aramco to build in northern Spain, which will produce synthetic fuel for cars, trucks and aircraft using carbon dioxide captured from a nearby refinery, and hydrogen produced from electricity generated from renewables.

Another potential candidate is a refinery in southern Spain where Repsol aims to start producing advanced biofuels in 2023.

Chief Executive Josu Jon Imaz told a livestreamed shareholder meeting that refineries in central and eastern Spain “are already getting prepared and producing these sustainable biofuels”.

A planned extension to a hydroelectric plant in the northern region of Cantabria has also been included in the proposals. Repsol estimates adding a gigawatt of capacity to the Aguayo hydroelectric facility will cost around 700 million euros.

Oil and gas firms across Europe, including major groups BP, Total and Shell, have pledged to adapt their businesses in response to government and investor pressure to help reduce planet-warming carbon emissions.

($1 = 0.8485 euros)

Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Edmund Blair