Exxon has announced an ambitious carbon capture and storage project that could see the removal of 100 million tons of carbon dioxide annually by 2040.
Dubbed the Houston Ship Channel CCS, the project will require the participation of both public and private entities. It will also require investments to the tune of a staggering $100 billion to capture carbon dioxide emissions generated by petrochemical plants and storing them below the Gulf of Mexico.
“We could create an economy of scale where we can reduce the cost of the carbon dioxide mitigation, create jobs and reduce the emissions,” the president of Exxon’s low carbon solutions division, Joe Blommaert, told Reuters in an interview.
“CCS could enable the United States to safely capture and store hundreds of millions of metric tons of CO2 each year that otherwise would be released into the atmosphere,” the executive said in the official announcement of the project.
The low carbon solutions division is a new one for Exxon, created amid growing pressure on the company and its peers to move away from their core business of oil and gas extraction and processing, and into activities with a lower carbon footprint.
Exxon seems to have bet big on carbon capture and storage. The company boasts a fifth of the global carbon capture capacity, with three facilities in the United States, Qatar, and Australia. However, the U.S. facility, La Barge, was shelved last year amid the pandemic.
The new business division of the company will invest some $3 billion on low-carbon solutions through 2025, adding to investments of $10 billion already made since 2000, the supermajor said.
Carbon capture and storage is, according to many, an indispensable part of the energy transition as it is not enough to simply work on diminishing future emissions. We need to start reducing current ones, too. However, the technology tends to be prohibitively expensive, which is why there are few CCS facilities globally.