ExxonMobil’s climate pitch to Biden: A $100B carbon project that greens hate

“There are no major ways to do this kind of shortening of the timeframe we’re talking about,” Woods said in an interview. “Society doesn’t have many opportunities to significantly reduce CO2 emissions within the timeframe.”

However, the Biden government is not considering the idea of ​​Exxon as it prepares to roll out its own climate plans People familiar with White House thinking. In the meantime, environmental groups and many democrats have criticized proposals for carbon sequestration as a climate strategy. The only way to permanently reduce greenhouse gas pollution is to make a major switch from fossil fuels.

The White House is expected to release a new national target that will see US carbon dioxide emissions cut by about half the levels between 2005 and 2030. The US must set its own climate target – which Biden will disclose as he prepares to host the world’s leaders as part of his two-day virtual climate summit, which begins Thursday – as part of his return to the Paris Agreement, the international one Pact that Exxon supports.

Woods said the project would not only remove millions of tons of planet warming gases from the atmosphere, but also help establish a technology the company expects to play a vital role in US climate strategy.

Exxon and other oil producers are using carbon capture as a technology that enables their oil and gas companies to continue operating in a low-carbon environment. However, this has been heavily pushed back by green groups, many of whom have blamed Exxon for decades of efforts by the oil and gas industry to obscure the reality of man-made climate change.

Unlike European competitors like Shell and BP, Exxon has not vowed to deviate from fossil fuels, arguing that oil and gas will remain key to the global economy for decades as building blocks for plastics and driving the global expansion of electricity. Instead, the company plans to turn its attention to capturing and storing the carbon emitted from oil and gas – and capitalizing on massive new business opportunities.

Exxon announced in February the creation of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, a new line of business focused on tracking carbon emissions from various industries. The company has presented the idea of ​​a Houston pilot program to the White House, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, among other things, Woods said.

A spokesman for Turner’s office declined to comment.

The company has decades of experience developing the technology and has applied for tax breaks called 45Q credits and companies $ 50 for every ton of carbon reused and locked up in oil production, or $ 35 for one Ton oil producers have long used to boost production from aging wells. Exxon used the tax credit to claim $ 240 million by 2015, according to Oil Change International, an environmental group tracking the number through public announcements.

However, without new direct financial incentives, it would take a price of $ 100 per tonne of carbon to make a big carbon capture business viable, Woods said.

“We want to be part of this conversation, help [lawmakers] Think about how they could introduce guidelines to incentivize a very large investment that we are talking about, ”said Woods. “So there are tax incentives, 45Q could be an extension of that, tax credits, low-interest loans.” There are a variety of mechanisms, and I think the challenge will be to find the right one to incentivize something this big. “

Biden has so far avoided proposing a price for carbon, either through a cap-and-trade system or a macroeconomic carbon tax, and instead called for a “clean energy standard” to be set in its infrastructure plan to accelerate carbon growth . free energy sources such as renewable energy and nuclear energy – and carbon capture technology.

Reducing the Houston Ship Channel’s carbon footprint would be a huge undertaking. The 50 mile long waterway that connects Houston to the Gulf of Mexico is littered with petrochemical plants and several of the largest fuel refineries in the country, among other things.

Exxon intends to create a development zone for carbon capture technology in the region, “similar to other public-private initiatives set up to promote economic growth or address other broader societal challenges.” If successful, around 100 million tons of carbon per year could be extracted from the industrial area and channeled into rock formations thousands of feet below the seabed off the Gulf Coast by 2040, the company said. It could then be replicated in the Midwest and other areas, Exxon said.

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