Essar commits multi-billions to ‘post-carbon’ future at Stanlow

Essar Stanlow refinery

Essar is to invest US$2.4 billion (£2.01bn) in the Stanlow refinery across hydrogen, green ammonia and biofuels to make the North West a “leading post-carbon industrial cluster”.

The privately owned Indian conglomerate bought Stanlow, near Ellesmere Port,  in 2011 for US$350 million. 

The company has created a new division called Essar Energy Transition (EET) which will include: the oil refining and marketing business at Stanlow; Vertex Hydrogen, which is developing 1 gigawatt (GW) of blue hydrogen for the UK market, with follow-on capacity set to reach 3.8GW; EET Future Energy, which is developing 1 GW of green ammonia in India, targeted at UK and international markets; Stanlow Terminals, which is developing enabling storage and pipeline infrastructure; and EET Biofuels, which is investing in developing 1 MT of low carbon biofuels.

Tony Fountain, managing partner of Essar Energy Transition, said: “EET’s ambitious investment plans will not only help deliver the UK’s net zero ambitions and the enormous environmental benefits therein, but will also secure the long term sustainable future for Stanlow, protecting and creating new highly skilled job opportunities at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse economy for generations to come.”

Essar is also investing heavily in hydrogen fuel as a core part of the HyNet cluster, following UK government support announced in 2021 as one of two hydrogen clusters in the country to be supported through to full operations.

The Stanlow refinery itself will also achieve a 75% reduction in carbon emissions before the end of this decade as part of EET’s decarbonisation plans. 

The investment programme will also contribute to a reduction of around 3.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, around 20% of the total industrial emissions in North West England.

In November 2022 Essar announced a carbon capture plant at the site. In January the government awarded funding of £16m to Fulcrum Energy to build a plant to convert waste to jet fuel.

The company has complied with the sanctions against Russia following last year’s invasion of Ukraine and no longer imports diesel from Russian sources.

Prashant Ruia, director, Essar Capital, said: “We are excited about the opportunity to drive the UK’s energy transition by producing low carbon future fuels which will help eliminate around 20% of the industrial carbon dioxide in North West England.  In doing so, it will provide a blueprint for how traditional industries globally can be successfully transformed into hubs for the production of future energies.

Other investments include the creation of an LNG value chain in India, including LNG truck manufacturing and LNG fuel stations, setting up a pellet plant in Odisha, in eastern India and a 4-million tonnes per annum green steel complex at Ras-Al-Khair, Saudi Arabia.


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