Chevron Corp. and Occidental Petroleum Corp. (Oxy) are tackling carbon emissions head on, with a joint equity investment in Canada-based Carbon Engineering Ltd. (CE).
The investments by Oxy Low Carbon Ventures LLC (OLCV) and Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV) are expected to accelerate commercialization of CE’s direct air capture (DAC) technology that removes carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the air.
“CE’s relationships with Occidental and Chevron, and these new investments, will allow us to accelerate the deployment of our DAC and Air To Fuels technologies,” CE CEO Steve Oldham said. There is an “increasing focus worldwide on the need for aggressive emissions reductions,” he said, and investments by the two supermajors should help to advance the technology to the marketplace.
CE has been developing DAC technology since 2009 and capturing CO2 from the atmosphere at a pilot plant in Squamish in British Columbia, since 2015. The DAC plants are “location-independent” and may be co-located with an oilfield operation for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).
Houston-based Oxy is considered an industry leader in using CO2 to enable EOR, which may increase oil recovery by 10-20% in the fields where it is employed, while at the same time permanently sequestering the CO2 in the reservoir.
"OLCV is dedicated to advancing innovative low-carbon technology solutions that enhance Occidental's business both for today and tomorrow," said Oxy Senior Vice President Richard Jackson, who manages operations support. "Carbon Engineering's direct air capture technology has the unique capability to capture and provide large volumes of atmospheric CO2. This capability complements Occidental's enhanced oil recovery business and provides further synergies by enabling large-scale CO2 utilization and sequestration."
CE’s complementary Air To Fuels process, which combines CO2 from DAC with hydrogen from water electrolysis, offers a second pathway to reduce transportation emissions by synthesizing ultra-low carbon intensity liquid fuels.
“At the core of what we do is develop the energy that powers the world forward, which means providing affordable and reliable energy while reducing carbon emissions,” said CTV President Barbara J. Burger. “Novel pathways such as through CE’s Air To Fuels technology represent a prime target area for our investment efforts that look to cut greenhouse gases through new low carbon value chains.”
Oldham said it is an “important time for the air capture field right now. We’re seeing leading jurisdictions, like California and British Columbia, creating markets for low carbon fuels and technologies like DAC, through effective climate policy. These efficient market-based regulations, and action from energy industry leaders like Occidental and Chevron, show the power of policy in driving innovation and achieving emissions reductions while delivering reliable and affordable energy.”