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ExxonMobil’s low-carbon hydrogen project in Baytown adds Air Liquide as partner

The deal will enable transportation of ExxonMobil’s low-carbon hydrogen through Air Liquide’s pipeline network. Photo via exxonmobil.com

Spring-based energy giant ExxonMobil has enlisted Air Liquide as a partner for what’s being billed as the world’s largest low-carbon hydrogen project.

The deal will enable transportation of ExxonMobil’s low-carbon hydrogen through Air Liquide’s pipeline network. Furthermore, Air Liquide will build and operate four units to supply 9,000 metric tons of oxygen and up to 6,500 metric tons of nitrogen each day for the ExxonMobil project.

Air Liquide’s U.S. headquarters is in Houston.

ExxonMobil’s hydrogen production facility is planned for the company’s 3,400-acre Baytown refining and petrochemical complex. The project is expected to produce 1 billion cubic feet of low-carbon hydrogen daily from natural gas and more than 1 million tons of low-carbon ammonia annually while capturing more than 98 percent of the associated carbon emissions.

“Momentum continues to build for the world’s largest low-carbon hydrogen project and the emerging hydrogen market,” Dan Ammann, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, says in a news release.

The hydrogen project is expected to come online in 2027 or 2028.

ExxonMobil says using hydrogen to fuel its olefins plant at Baytown could reduce sitewide carbon emissions by as much as 30 percent. Meanwhile, the carbon capture and storage (CSUS) component of the project would be capable of storing 10 million metric tons of carbon each year, the company says.

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A View From HETI

Governor Abbott said he was sending a letter to the Public Utility Commission of Texas requiring it to investigate why restoration has taken so long and what must be done to fix it. Photo via X/Governor Abbott

With around 270,000 homes and businesses still without power in the Houston area almost a week after Hurricane Beryl hit Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday said he's demanding an investigation into the response of the utility that serves the area as well as answers about its preparations for upcoming storms.

“Power companies along the Gulf Coast must be prepared to deal with hurricanes, to state the obvious,” Abbott said at his first news conference about Beryl since returning to the state from an economic development trip to Asia.

While CenterPoint Energy has restored power to about 2 million customers since the storm hit on July 8, the slow pace of recovery has put the utility, which provides electricity to the nation’s fourth-largest city, under mounting scrutiny over whether it was sufficiently prepared for the storm that left people without air conditioning in the searing summer heat.

Abbott said he was sending a letter to the Public Utility Commission of Texas requiring it to investigate why restoration has taken so long and what must be done to fix it. In the Houston area, Beryl toppled transmission lines, uprooted trees and snapped branches that crashed into power lines.

With months of hurricane season left, Abbott said he's giving CenterPoint until the end of the month to specify what it'll be doing to reduce or eliminate power outages in the event of another storm. He said that will include the company providing detailed plans to remove vegetation that still threatens power lines.

Abbott also said that CenterPoint didn't have “an adequate number of workers pre-staged" before the storm hit.

Following Abbott's news conference, CenterPoint said its top priority was “power to the remaining impacted customers as safely and quickly as possible,” adding that on Monday, the utility expects to have restored power to 90% of its customers. CenterPoint said it was committed to working with state and local leaders and to doing a “thorough review of our response.”

CenterPoint also said Sunday that it’s been “investing for years” to strengthen the area’s resilience to such storms.

The utility has defended its preparation for the storm and said that it has brought in about 12,000 additional workers from outside Houston. It has said it would have been unsafe to preposition those workers inside the predicted storm impact area before Beryl made landfall.

Brad Tutunjian, vice president for regulatory policy for CenterPoint Energy, said last week that the extensive damage to trees and power poles hampered the ability to restore power quickly.

A post Sunday on CenterPoint's website from its president and CEO, Jason Wells, said that over 2,100 utility poles were damaged during the storm and over 18,600 trees had to be removed from power lines, which impacted over 75% of the utility's distribution circuits.

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