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April 20, 2021, 8:07 p.m. EDT

Exxon floats idea for $100 billion private-public carbon capture hub, largest of its kind

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Rachel Koning Beals

Exxon Mobil has floated a proposal for a public-private project that would grab carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. petrochemical plants and bury them deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

If realized, it would be the world’s largest carbon capture and sequestration effort.

Exxon /zigman2/quotes/204455864/composite XOM +1.43% says it needs “$100 billion or more” from companies and government agencies for the project intended to store 50 million metric tons of CO2 by 2030, with capacity potentially doubling by 2040.

“It will need government and private-sector funding, as well as enhanced regulatory and legal frameworks that enable investment and innovation,” Exxon said.

Joe Blommaert, president of Exxon’s Low Carbon Solutions business, made the announcement in a blog post . Just a few months on the job, his role at the U.S’s largest fossil-fuel company is meant to turn carbon capture into a money-making enterprise and secure the future of a diverse energy mix for an industry under pressure to adapt.

Oil and gas concerns have pushed for incentives to build out carbon capture technology in large part because the process is seen allowing them to continue to pump fossil fuels and still align with the Biden administration’s push toward net-zero emissions.

Republicans promoting climate-change legislation have emphasized the important role of carbon capture as a way to hold down emissions. Environmental advocates are worried carbon capture shifts the emphasis from renewables. They argue the U.S. won’t hit key emissions-reduction targets without dramatically cutting fossil-fuel burning.

The Biden administration indicated that it’s willing to boost incentives for carbon capture in the Made In America Tax Plan released earlier this month.

Exxon has not said how much it will put up for the project. Last year, the company put a smaller, $260 million carbon capture project in Wyoming on hold due to the economic slowdown from COVID-19.

It’s not the only oil and gas concern pushing for carbon capture.

Chevron Corp. /zigman2/quotes/205871374/composite CVX +0.92%  is partnering with Microsoft Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +1.09% , oilfield services firm Schlumberger New Energy /zigman2/quotes/201012972/composite SLB +3.77%   and privately held Clean Energy Systems to build a carbon capture plant in California .

The ability of powerhouses like Exxon, Chevron and other Big Oil competitors to scale carbon capture is part of the appeal for those in favor of the technology.

Read: Major banks, including JPMorgan and Citi, have invested $3.8 trillion in fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement

Shares of Exxon are up 34% over the past year and so far in 2021. Chevron stock is up roughly 20% in 2021 to date and up 24% over the past year.

/zigman2/quotes/204455864/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 62.43
+0.88 +1.43%
Volume: 33.61M
May 7, 2021 4:04p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
5.57%
Market Cap
$264.30 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.47M
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/zigman2/quotes/205871374/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 110.02
+1.00 +0.92%
Volume: 10.27M
May 7, 2021 4:02p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
4.87%
Market Cap
$212.13 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.98M
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/zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 252.46
+2.73 +1.09%
Volume: 27.03M
May 7, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
34.36
Dividend Yield
0.89%
Market Cap
$1901.42 billion
Rev. per Employee
$877,393
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/zigman2/quotes/201012972/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 31.89
+1.16 +3.77%
Volume: 16.48M
May 7, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
1.57%
Market Cap
$44.59 billion
Rev. per Employee
$274,430
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