Chevron Corp. is expanding its reach into capturing and storing carbon emissions across its global businesses, with one endeavor trained in Central California.

CCUS Facilities

Chevron U.S.A. Inc., through the Chevron New Energies division, is advancing a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) at the  Kern River Eastridge cogeneration plant in Kern County. The goal is to reduce carbon intensity, which is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted per unit of energy produced.

Post-combustion capture equipment is being installed to suck up the emissions, which then would be stored thousands of feet underground. 

“At Chevron, we believe the future of energy is lower carbon,” said Chevron New Energies’ Chris Powers, vice president of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS). “Reducing the carbon intensity of the energy people rely on day-in and day-out is well aligned with the ambitions” of the 2015 United Nations climate accord.

The San Ramon, CA-based energy major also has a long history in the region, “where we have lived and worked for over a century,” Powers said.

Chevron has applied for a conditional use permit with Kern County’s Planning and Natural Resources Department. The company said it would continue to work with regulators throughout the process.

Lots of CCS Proposals

In addition to the Eastridge cogeneration project, Chevron is evaluating and deploying multiple carbon capture technology demonstrations. The plan is to mature more efficient and cost-effective capture solutions for potential projects for Chevron and other industries.

Chevron is considering other carbon capture hubs for the Gulf Coast and beyond. On Tuesday, Chevron completed a deal with Talos Energy Inc. and Carbonvert Inc. to advance a carbon capture hub southeast of Houston near the massive petrochemical complex. Chevron also has a project in the queue with Enterprise Product Partners LP. Separately, Chevron also is working with a group led by ExxonMobil for a proposed $100 billion carbon capture project near Houston

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“As Chevron advances to a lower carbon future, we’re identifying ways to advance our operations as well, so we can continue to provide local jobs, support the local economy, and generate local government revenue that supports critical community services,” said Chevron SJV Vice President Molly Laegeler. The Kern County project would foster “continued collaboration with local regulators throughout this process,” Laegeler said. “We believe this project has the potential to benefit the region on many levels, and that Kern County is an ideal location for carbon capture and storage.”

Chevron pointed to a report issued in August 2020 by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Northern California regarding opportunities for the state to become carbon neutral. Researchers said “there are various options for geologic storage sites in the state, but we have identified the most promising first candidates in San Joaquin County and in Kern County.” The regions, they said, have “geologic and subsurface characteristics, as well as the existing oil and natural gas production.”

Chevron said it also is “actively exploring additional opportunities to lower the carbon intensity of its SJV operations.” Those potential projects include blending hydrogen with natural gas in combustion, and using other emerging lower carbon technologies, such as geothermal.

Kern County and state officials praised the actions by Chevron. 

“We have a long history of working with Chevron and have appreciated their significant involvement in our community and the role they have played in Kern County,” said Kern Economic Development Corp. CEO Richard Chapman. “We are excited to see their commitment to lowering the carbon footprint of their local operations and look forward to seeing the innovation and technology they plan to deploy. These efforts aim to ensure job security and workforce development opportunities and maintain the quality of life we enjoy here.”

President Andrew Meredith of the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, also acknowledged Chevron’s plans. 

“Energy transition efforts such as this project have the potential to create a significant number of good paying jobs,” Meredith said. “There are also a number of skills in oil and gas jobs that are transferable to new energies, especially CCUS. We appreciate Chevron’s continued commitment to California and our workers.”