ExxonMobil floats $100bn idea to create CCS hubs
US supermajor ExxonMobil, in an April 19 blog post, is floating the idea of a $100bn project that could eventually capture up to 100mn mt/yr of CO2 from Houston-area industrial emitters and sequester it beneath the Gulf of Mexico.
After studying the concept of creating multi-user carbon capture and storage (CCS) hubs in industrial areas for the past three years, ExxonMobil has settled on the Houston Ship Channel region of south Texas, Joe Blommaert, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, wrote in a blog post on the ExxonMobil website.
“Houston has two features that make it an ideal site for CCS: it has many large industrial emission sources, and it’s located near geologic formations in the Gulf of Mexico that could store large amounts of CO2 safely, securely and permanently,” Blommaert wrote.
The US Department of Energy has estimated that geological formations along the Gulf Coast could sequester as much as 500bn mt of CO2 – more than 130 years of the country’s total industrial and power generation emissions, based on 2018 emissions.
Blommaert says the US could establish a “CCS Innovation Zone” along the Houston Ship Channel and its surrounding industrial areas, potentially to capture all of the CO2 emissions from the petrochemical, manufacturing and power generation facilities located there. The CO2 would then be piped into geological formations along the Gulf Coast.
“It would be a huge project, requiring the collective support of industry and government, with a combined estimated investment of $100bn or more,” Blommaert wrote. “But the benefits could be equally big: early projections indicate that if the appropriate policies were in place, infrastructure could be built in Houston to safely capture and permanently store about 50mn mt of CO2annually by 2030. By 2040, it could be 100mn mt.”
Eventually, he added, lessons learned from Houston could be applied in other areas of the country where there are similar concentrations of industrial activity located close to suitable sequestration sites, such as in the Midwest or at other locations along the Gulf Coast.