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NRG, Nippon Begin Work on Texas Carbon Capture, EOR Project

NRG Energy Inc. and Japan’s JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp. are funding a $1 billion system near Houston that would be capable of capturing 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from an existing coal-burning unit that would be used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in a legacy field that is 82 miles southwest.

NRG subsidiary Petra Nova Holdings LLC has partnered with JX Nippon in a 50/50 joint venture to fund the project at NRG’s W.A. Parish power plant in Fort Bend County, the state’s largest. The partners said the makeover would be the "world's largest post-combustion carbon facility on an existing coal plant."

The system is to direct flue gas to a tower for mixing with chemicals before being heated to isolate the CO2. The gas then would be compressed and shipped via an 82-mile pipeline to the West Ranch oilfield in Jackson County, TX, where NRG and JX each have a 25% interest.  Hilcorp Energy Co. would use the CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.

The system is expected to be operational by the end of 2016.

The Parish units burn coal and natural gas, and the CO2 produced for EOR would help create more oil-based revenue from West Ranch, NRG said. EOR is expected to boost oil production at the field from about 500 b/dt-15,000 b/d and could ultimately produce an additional 60 million bbl.

The Department of Energy, which estimates that EOR could produce more than 60 billion bbl in the nation's conventional fields, has provided a $167 million grant for the project through its Clean Coal Power Initiative Program.

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