How Oxy’s New Carbon Venture Could Become A True Game-Changer

By David Blackmon

For decades, the oil and gas industry has engaged in the use of carbon dioxide as a tool for the stimulation of oil production from depleting conventional reservoirs. The process has involved the injection of large volumes of CO2 into these discrete reservoirs to raise formation pressure and force more oil to the surface.

As the climate science community has increasingly focused on CO2 as a greenhouse gas and oil companies have come under mounting pressure from ESG-focused investors to make a difference in the climate change realm, companies have begun to realize that if the exit avenues can be properly sealed off, these formations are capable of storing trillions of gallons of CO2 into perpetuity. The beauty part is that such reservoirs exist today all over the country, and are most bountiful in Texas, along its Gulf Coast and across the vast Permian Basin.

As I noted in February, integrated companies like ExxonMobil and Oxy have been big players in this carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) game for many years now, with Exxon able to accurately state it has been responsible already for capturing 40% of all the CO2 that has ever been captured on earth. Exxon is so excited about the potential for the future that it has established an entire new business unit dedicated to devising and mounting profitable CCUS ventures in the years to come.

Obviously, the potential for taking CO2 out of the atmosphere expands dramatically if mankind can find scalable ways to reuse it in other ways. To achieve this objective, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures formed a partnership with Cemvita Factory, a Houston-based company that has developed a photosynthesis-based process that enables it to take CO2 from any source and convert it into a wide array of products.

Last week, Oxy and Cemvita announced a new step in their venture: The establishment of a pilot project for conversion of CO2 to Bioethylene. Oxy affiliate OxyChem, which currently manufactures and uses large volumes of ethylene in its chlorovinyls business can then use the Bioethylene as feedstock. These chlorovinyls are used in the manufacture of all manner of plastics, including foams, PVC pipes and many other items we all use in our daily lives.

This article appeared on the Forbes website at https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2021/04/11/how-oxys-new-carbon-venture-could-become-a-true-game-changer/?sh=50da3be829e0


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