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Momentum Accelerates for Houston Carbon Capture Hub

Published Sep 16, 2021 by A.J. Mistretta

downtown Houston aerial

Eleven companies announced today that they are collaborating on a potential carbon capture and storage hub in Houston. Such a project could significantly boost Houston’s bid to lead the global energy transition and serve as a model for other such projects around the world. 

Calpine, Chevron, Dow, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Linde, LyondellBasell, Marathon Petroleum, NRG Energy, Phillips 66 and Valero have agreed to begin discussing plans that could lead to capturing and safely storing up to 50 million metric tons of CO2 per year by 2030 and about 100 million metric tons by 2040.

The companies say they plan to help address industrial CO2 emissions in one of the largest concentrated sources in the United States—right here in Houston. Collectively, the 11 companies are considering using CCS technology at facilities that generate electricity and manufacture products that we use daily, from plastics and motor fuels to packaging. 

Coalition members say discussions are currently happening with other companies that have industrial operations in the region to add even more CO2 capture capacity. If more companies join the effort, it would add further momentum toward the city of Houston's ambitions 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," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. "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."

CCS is the process of capturing CO2 from industrial activity that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and injecting it into deep underground geologic formations for safe, secure and permanent storage. With supportive regulations, CO2 from the Houston industrial area could be safely stored in the U.S. Gulf Coast region in formations thousands of feet below the surface or seabed. 

Wide-scale deployment of CCS in the Houston area will require the collective support of industry, communities and government. If appropriate policies and regulations are put in place, CCS 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, the coalition partners said. The 11 companies will continue to advocate for policies that enable the long-term commercial viability of new, expanded and existing CCS investments in Texas.

Greater Houston Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey said the Houston region is committed to leading the global energy transition to a low-carbon future. “We know a key component of this effort is expanding carbon capture and storage capabilities here in the U.S. and abroad,” Harvey said. “We applaud this coalition of Houston companies that have recognized our region as the ideal location for a global-scale CCS network that would serve as the model for developments elsewhere in the world.”

“Solving the dual challenge of meeting the demand for ever-increasing amounts of energy to support a growing, modernizing global population while also achieving net zero emissions by 2050 will require novel solutions and technologies,” Harvey added. “This coordinated, widescale deployment of CCS in Houston will be of the scale and magnitude to drive real results.”

Learn more about energy transition efforts in Houston. 

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