A landmark proposal by ExxonMobil to capture and store millions of tons of carbon emissions from Houston area petrochemical facilities has won the support of nearly a dozen oil and gas companies, including fellow supermajor Chevron Corp.
Last April ExxonMobil said it was looking for local, state and federal support to build a $100 billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) project to pull emissions from the massive industrial complex along the Houston Ship Channel
The project as designed initially could capture about 50 million metric tons/year (mmty) of CO2 emissions by 2030 and 100 million mmty by 2040. The captured CO2, equivalent to taking nearly 11 million vehicles off the road, could be stored up to 6,000 feet below the Gulf of Mexico.
Eleven companies including Chevron as of Thursday had “agreed to begin discussing plans” for the project.
Companies that agreed to help advance the project are Calpine Corp., Dow, Ineos USA LLC, LInde, LyondellBasell, Marathon Petroleum Corp., NRG Energy Inc., Phillips 66 and Valero Energy Corp.
“Collectively, the 11 companies are considering using CCS technology at facilities that generate electricity and manufacture products that society uses every day, such as plastics, motor fuels and packaging,” ExxonMobil noted. “If CCS technology is fully implemented at the Houston-area facilities these 11 companies operate, nearly 75 mmty of CO2 could be captured and stored…by 2040.”
Ongoing discussions are underway “with other companies that have industrial operations in the area to add even more CO2 capture capacity.”
The companies that are coming to the table “draw upon our collective global expertise in CCS, and explore and execute potential technology-driven solutions to reduce emissions in Houston,” said ExxonMobil’s Joe Blommaert, president of Low Carbon Solutions. “We can meet our goals in reducing industrial emissions together.”
Chevron New Energies President Jeff Gustavson said, “Carbon capture and storage has a critical role to play in advancing a lower carbon future. Success will require collaboration across energy partners, government and other industries.”
Countries around the world are investing in CO2 capture “as they understand the importance of CCS to decarbonize industrial sector emissions,” said Dow’s Jack Broodo, president of the Feedstocks and Energy Business. “The U.S. has an opportunity, as evidenced by this collection of willing companies, to invest in the infrastructure that will keep us competitive, generate tens of thousands of new jobs and signal to the world that the U.S. is committed to leading a low carbon emission economy.”
Calpine is advancing carbon capture projects at its Houston-area cogeneration facilities, said Executive Vice President Caleb Stephenson, who oversees commercial operations. “But this is just the beginning of what we can accomplish with the right policies, including the enhanced 45Q credit that climate champions are now advancing in Congress.” The Internal Revenue Service provides a 45Q tax credit for CCS projects.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said Houston’s goal is to be carbon neutral by 2050. “Houston can achieve our net-zero goals by working together, and it’s exciting to see so many companies have already come together to talk about making Houston the world leader in carbon capture and storage.
“We’re reimagining what it means to be the energy capital of the world, and applying proven technology to reduce emissions is one of the best ways to get started.”
According to ExxonMobil, wide-scale CCS deployment in the Houston area “could generate tens of thousands of new jobs, protect current jobs and reduce emissions at a lower cost to society than many other widely available technologies.”
LyondellBasell’s Jim Seward, senior vice president of Research & Development, said, “Mitigating the impact of human activity on climate change will take more than one company, one industry, one region or one solution. It will take all of us. Efforts like this are an important step in the right direction toward achieving net zero emissions by 2050.”
Phillps 66’s Heath DePriest, vice president of Emerging Energy, said the “industry includes some of the brightest scientific and technical minds in the world today, and it will take all of us working together to achieve a lower-carbon future. This is a big opportunity for Houston to cement its status as the past, present and future energy capital of the world.”
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