Exxon announced on March 1st that it is planning to build a new hydrogen production plant and a large carbon capture and storage project at its integrated refining and petrochemical site at Baytown, near Houston,Texas.
The carbon capture project is supposed to transport and store up to 10 million metric tons of CO2 a year, which would make it one of the largest projects of its type in the United States. The company claims it is supporting efforts to reduce emissions from its operations and the local industry.
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The proposed project includes a hydrogen production facility that would produce up to 1 billion cubic feet per day of “blue” hydrogen that will be supported by carbon capture and storage. The produced hydrogen would be used in Exxon’s olefins plant in Baytown, which will reduce on-site complex’s Scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions by up to 30%. The goal is to enable the site to manufacture lower-emissions products for its customers.
The carbon capture infrastructure capacity of up to 10 million metric tons of CO2 per year, more than doubles ExxonMobil’s current CO2 transport and storage capacity. The company will also make available surplus hydrogen and CO2 storage capacity to the nearby industry.
The project is pending regulatory permits and engineering studies and final investment decision is expected in two to three years. The oil company has allocated $15 billion in initiatives to lower carbon emissions over a six-year period.
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The carbon capture plant will also be Exxon’s first contribution to a cross-industry effort for a $100 billion carbon capture and storage megaproject to be created along the Houston Ship Channel- the Houston Hub.
According to Ed Graham, the vice president of Exxon’s Low Carbon Solutions, the initiative will help Exxon meet its target to achieve net zero emissions for its global operations by 2050 while also making money to shareholders. “That’s our challenge to the energy transition, to find that right balance,” said Mr Graham.
Exxon’s newly planned carbon capture and blue hydrogen project is showing how energy companies are committing to reducing their emissions. However, for true net zero to be accomplished, a complete phase-out of fossil fuels would be necessary by mid-century which means oil and gas companies will have to make much more drastic changes really soon.