Irving Oil and TC Energy are joining forces to explore the development of energy projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including hydrogen.

The two firms have identified a series of potential projects focused on decarbonizing current assets and deploying new technologies to reduce emissions.

Those possibilities were not disclosed by the firms in their joint announcement this month, but the partnership’s initial focus will be on upgrades at Irving Oil’s refinery in Saint John, N.B., with the goal of significantly reducing emissions through the production and use of low-carbon power generation.

The partnership also will explore opportunities to aid in decarbonizing local industry via the production and distribution of low-emission hydrogen, coupled with a carbon capture and sequestration network. Irving’s mention of hydrogen as a future product is significant because of ongoing research and development into cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The partnership will target industry solutions that will lower emissions in the region to align with carbon reduction goals and enhance the opportunities for future development in Atlantic Canada.

The scope, timelines and cost estimates of the joint initiatives will be subject to the outcome of feasibility studies and pending regulatory processes.

Irving Oil and Calgary-based TC Energy have a long history of working together, including on the development and operation of Grandview Cogeneration, a 90 MW low-carbon power plant located inside the Saint John refinery.

Meanwhile, Irving Oil is ending its partnership with Repsol at Canaport LNG, selling its 25 per cent share of the terminal, also located in Saint John, N.B.

“Irving Oil extends its best wishes to Repsol for success in the future,” Irving Oil said in a news release, adding the parties worked together for a number of months to finalize the deal.

None of the parties have made additional comments on the sale, which makes Repsol the sole owner of the Canaport operation. The value of the transaction and future plans for the plant were not disclosed.

Canaport is able to supply 20 per cent of the natural gas needs of Canada and the northeast U.S., according to the company’s website.

The facility can send out a maximum of 1.2 billion cubic feet, or 28 million cubic metres, of natural gas per day, which is enough to heat five million homes, it states.