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World's largest Direct Air Capture plant to be built in the Permian Basin

23/05/2019
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Occidental Petroleum is teaming up with Carbon Engineering to build the world’s largest Direct Air Capture (DAC) and sequestration facility in the Permian Basin located in West Texas and south-eastern New Mexico. Occidental intends for the facility to capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere and use it for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).
Carbon Engineering is currently operating a pilot Direct Air Capture plant in Canada.
(Carbon Engineering is currently operating a pilot Direct Air Capture plant in Canada. Image via Carbon Engineering).

Once operational the Direct Air Capture plant will be able to remove 500,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year. Pairing carbon capture and sequestration with oil extraction is a significant environmental step as it provides a mechanism by which oil production can reduce its carbon emissions. It’s hoped that with enough Direct Air Capture activity, oil extraction activities could approach a negative emissions position.

“We are excited to partner with Carbon Engineering on the first Direct Air Capture facility in the Permian Basin, enabling us to enhance our leadership position in CO2 EOR,” said Richard Jackson, President of Oxy Low Carbon Ventures. “Using atmospheric CO2 for oil recovery greatly reduces the net addition of CO2 to the atmosphere from oil production and fuel use, and opens a pathway to producing fully carbon-neutral or even net-negative fuels.”

Steve Oldham, CEO of Canada-based Carbon Engineering said:

“Climate experts tell us that, alongside other mitigation solutions, carbon removal technologies like DAC are going to be essential if we hope to decarbonise in time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. These carbon removal technologies need to be deployed widely and at large enough scales to be climate-relevant. This project – the largest DAC sequestration plant in the world – is therefore a huge step forward in demonstrating the readiness of large-scale atmospheric carbon removal, and in accelerating efforts to bring global emissions down to net-zero, and eventually to net negative”.
Visualisation of an industrial-scale DAC plant such as could be used by Oxy in the Permian.
(Visualisation of an industrial-scale DAC plant such as could be used by Oxy in the Permian. Image via Carbon Engineering).

The IEA has stated that carbon capture will be required to limit a global rise in average temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times by 2060.

The announcement of the DAC plant comes as market-based regulations like the Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) in California and other jurisdictions are being expanded to allow credit generation by DAC-sequestration projects. Oxy have said that the Permian facility will be designed to be eligible for both California’s LCFS credits and US federal 45Q tax credits.

Construction of the plant is expected to begin in 2021, with it becoming operational during the course of 2023.

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World's largest Direct Air Capture plant to be built in the Permian Basin - Time to read 3 min
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