The North Sea Hydrogen Ports and Maritime Community (NS HyMaP) will hold a major one day conference at the CoSLA Conference Centre in  Edinburgh on Wednesday 17 May 2023. It will look at the importance of the import and export of hydrogen in the North Sea Region and its positive effects on the creation of a European Hydrogen Market.  Edinburgh has been chosen to host the Conference due to Scotland’s excellent hydrogen export potential.

The key role of hydrogen imports features strongly in EU hydrogen Strategy and RePower EU.  It is a key element in the Hydrogen Strategies of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands and these strategies state that the import of hydrogen will be needed by the mid to late 2020s.   Other parts of the North Sea Region will be exporters of green hydrogen and these countries include the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Norway.

Scotland is well placed to export hydrogen and an export strategy plays a major role in the Scottish Government’s Hydrogen Action Plan published in December 2022.  The Action Plan states “It is our ambition for Scotland to become a net exporter of hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives, supplying UK and EU markets by the mid-2020’s.”  The Scottish Government will publish a Hydrogen Sector Export Plan (HSEP) during this year.  It raises a number of issues:

  • Identifying Scotland’s international competitive advantage and target markets;
  • Identifying and addressing key market access barriers;
  • How Scotland will build relationships with international export partners;
  • Export support for Scotland’s hydrogen businesses.

The North Sea Region is already a major producer of hydrogen and there are plans to increase production and receive imports.  The European Commission has plans for the North Sea to become a major import corridor and the International Energy Agency has said the Region “leads the development of low-emission hydrogen as a new energy carrier. This region accounts for around half of Europe’s total hydrogen demand and has a vast and untapped renewable energy potential in the North Sea.”

Major ports in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands are making plans to import hydrogen and its derivatives while companies and governments are striking Memoranda of Understanding to stimulate research and innovation and the development of import/export agreements.  Contracts for Difference and auctions are also being discussed.

However, market and governance barriers remain, and a great deal of work needs to be done in a short time.  These barriers include:

  • Lack of national general policy and regulatory context on objectives with regards to import of renewable hydrogen and hydrogen carriers alongside domestic production
  • Lack of specific national and EU-wide roadmaps for large-scale intra-EU renewable carrier imports
  • Lack of import infrastructures including shipping, terminals, storage, pipelines, distribution stations.
  • Lack of regulations and technical standards for international transportation of hydrogen for import purposes

NS HyMaP has invited senior colleagues from the EU, European Commission, national and regional governments, ports, and the hydrogen and transport sectors to discuss these important issues and to provide insights into a rapid way forward.

Updates on the Conference will be regularly posted on the European Policy Solutions website (  Booking details will appear soon.  If you would like further information, please contact Jon Jordan at or phone +44 1259 781404.