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Bill Gates headed to CERAWeek, Houston leader calls for collaboration, and more things to know this week

Bill Gates was announced as a keynote speaker at CERAWeek — and more things to know this week. Photo via breakthroughenergy.org

Editor's note: Dive headfirst into the new week with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition: a roundup of events not to miss, a podcast to stream, and more.

Bill Gates heads to Houston for CERAWeek by S&P Global

Legendary Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who founded Breakthrough Energy and TerraPower, is headed to town for the 2024 CERAWeek. Gates will be featured in a luncheon fireside chat with S&P Global's Daniel Yergin on Thursday, March 21, at 1 pm.

CERAWeek by S&P Global 2024, with its theme of "Multidimensional Energy Transition: Markets, climate, technology and geopolitics," will zero in on the world's journey to zero-carbon, specifically exploring "strategies for a multidimensional, multispeed and multifuel energy transition," according to a news release. The programming will reflect on the reality of the energy transition, including its progress in different regions and across industries, technologies, and politics. Learn more.

Podcast: Scott Gale of Halliburton Labs calls for collaboration

Scott Gale will be the first to admit that hosting a week of curated events targeted to a group of individuals within the tech and energy space isn't a novel idea — Climate Week NYC has been taking over Manhattan for over a decade. But Gale believes Houston deserves to have its own time to shine.

Earlier this month, Halliburton Labs, Rice Alliance, and Greentown Houston announced the inaugural Houston Energy and Climate Startup Week 2024 to take place in September, but Gale, executive director of Halliburton Labs, says he hopes this is just the beginning of Houston organizations coming together to collaborate on the initiative.

"I think we have a really awesome initial coalition. Whether your the fifth company or organization to raise its hand to do something that week or the 50th — it really doesn't matter," Gale says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It really is an open invitation — and I want to make that super clear."

Events not to miss

Put these Houston-area energy-related events on your calendar.

  • CERAWeek 2024 is Monday, March 18, to Friday, March 22, in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Register.
  • DeCarb Connect supports senior leaders in decarbonization to accelerate strategy and decision making to reduce carbon emissions and reach net zero targets. The event is March 26 to 28 at Westin Houston Memorial City. Register.
  • On March 27, Greentown Houston is hosting "Accelerating Net-Zero Solutions: CCUS Innovation and Startup Showcase." Watch the Go Make 2023 cohort pitch their innovations in carbon utilization, storage, and traceability; hear about their work with Shell throughout the startup-corporate-partnerships accelerator; and learn from CCUS industry experts. Register.
  • On April 17, the University of Houston presents "Gulf Coast Hydrogen Ecosystem: Opportunities & Solutions" featuring experts from academia, industry, government, and more. The symposium begins at 8 am with a networking reception takes place beginning at 5 pm at the University of Houston Student Center South - Theater Room. Register.

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A View From HETI

The combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology. Photo via Getty Images

SLB announced its plans to combine its carbon capture business with Norway company, Aker Carbon Capture.

Upon completion of the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of this year, SLB will own 80 percent of the combined business and ACC will own 20 percent.

According to a SLB news release, the combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology.

“For CCUS to have the expected impact on supporting global net-zero ambitions, it will need to scale up 100-200 times in less than three decades,” Olivier Le Peuch, CEO of SLB, says in the release. “Crucial to this scale-up is the ability to lower capture costs, which often represent as much as 50-70% of the total spend of a CCUS project.

The International Energy Agency estimates that over one gigaton of CO2 every year year will need to be captured by 2030 — a figure that scales up to over six gigatons by 2050.

"We are excited to create this business with ACC to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technologies that will shift the economics of carbon capture across high-emitting industrial sectors,” Le Peuch continues.

SLB is slated to pay NOK 4.12 billion — around $379.4 million — to own 80 percent of Aker Carbon Capture Holding AS, which owns ACC, per the news release, and SLB may also pay up to NOK 1.36 billion over the next three years, depending on business performance.

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