Petra Nova Carbon Capture And Utilization Project Is Back Online

Petra Nova Carbon Capture And Utilization Project Is Back Online - Carbon Herald
Petra Nova shown on the right. Image: RM VM under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Petra Nova – one of the world’s three carbon capture and storage (CCS) installations on a coal-fired power plant, has reportedly restarted operations on September 13th.

The $1 billion project aims to demonstrate CCS over a three-year period. It was taken up by NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil to capture the emissions from one of the boilers at their WA Parish Generating Station in Thompsons, Texas. The captured CO2 is compressed to a supercritical liquid and then sent 82 miles through 12-inch diameter pipes to its end location of the West Ranch oil field. The project is used for enhanced oil recovery.

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It was shut down in May 2020 due to the low cost of oil as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was first proposed when oil prices traded at $100 per barrel with the assumption they would not drop. As they went down to about $50 per barrel, the project started generating a net loss regarding the oil production at the field and was therefore stopped until economic conditions improved. 

In September 2022, NRG Energy also sold its stake in the project to JX Nippon. The company notified the Electric Reliability Council of Texas this year it wants to return the unit to year-round service starting on June 28, 2023, but it postponed the restart thereafter.

Petra Nova has managed to capture 3,904,978 short tons of CO2 during its three years of demonstration which represents 92.4% of the CO2 from the slipstream of flue gas processed. The project also resulted in exceeded oil recovery production that reached 6,000 barrels per day. The oil field had previously been producing 300 barrels of oil per day.

“The carbon capture facility of this project, one of the largest carbon capture facilities in the world, can capture greenhouse gas, approximately 1.4 million metric tons per year… The ENEOS group to which JX Nippon belongs is taking on the challenge of achieving both ‘a stable supply of energy and materials’ and ‘the realization of a carbon-neutral society,’ and it has been working to achieve carbon neutrality of its emissions by FY2040,” commented JX Nippon on Wednesday.

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Petra Nova carbon capture project for enhanced oil recovery is one of the three CCS installations on a coal power plant in the world. The first one is SaskPower’s 115-MW Boundary Dam 3 which has successfully run carbon capture and storage unit since 2014 including transportation to enhance oil recovery. The third one is at the Taizhou coal-fired power plant in the Jiangsu province in China, which started operation in June 2023. Part of the captured CO2 from that project was reported that it will be transported to China National Petroleum’s oil field for enhanced oil recovery.

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