Two global oil & gas supermajors gave green hydrogen’s prospects a vote of confidence this week when TotalEnergies and BP announced huge investment plans on successive days, analysts said.

BP’s swoop on Wednesday for the largest stake in the $36bn, 26GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) in Australia came 24 hours after TotalEnergies bought into India’s Adani New Industries (ANI) to take part in a $50bn push to create “the world’s largest green hydrogen ecosystem”.

The true scale of the prospects for hydrogen in the global energy economy are fiercely contested, with opinions ranging across a scale that ranges from seeing the gas as the energy transition’s magic bullet to warnings that its potential is being dangerously overstated, in some cases as a cover for continued fossil gas use.

There are also unanswered questions over the relative economics of large-scale remote, or smaller, local production plants, and whether transporting H2 long distances is viable.

Speaking after its deal to lead the AREH, one of the world’s most ambitious green hydrogen plans, BP executive vice president for gas & low carbon energy Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath told Recharge she is convinced H2 has a key part to play.

“As an engineer and a rational person, I always look at the fundamentals. What we believe in BP, which is widely shared by many other analysts around the world, is hydrogen is clearly becoming a key new energy vector.

“Our projection says 10-15% of global energy supply in 2050. The way we think about it is [as] the next LNG [liquified natural gas],” added Dotzenrath. BP has a goal to build a 10% global share in “core hydrogen markets” alongside its 50GW net renewable energy target for 2030, with an H2 strategy that also spans blue hydrogen produced using abated fossil gas.

For its part, TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne said its deal to enter ANI “is a major milestone in implementing our low carbon hydrogen strategy, where we want not only to decarbonise the hydrogen used in our European refineries by 2030, but also to pioneer the mass production of green hydrogen to meet demand, as the market will take off by the end of this decade”.

Prakash Sharma, a vice president at research group Wood Mackenzie, said of the twin deals: “The tide is turning on hydrogen investments in Asia. After a 100-fold jump in low carbon hydrogen project announcements over the past three years, major energy players now seem willing to raise the game on green investments.

“The investments committed by BP and TotalEnergies confirm the industry’s confidence in hydrogen technology.”