ExxonMobil breaks ground, new Houston corporate leader, and more trending energy transition news

A Texas wind energy project goes online — and more energy transition news. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: It's been a busy news week for energy transition in Houston, and some of this week's headlines resonated with EnergyCapital readers on social media and daily newsletter. Trending news included news of renewable energy projects, a new corporate appointment, and more.

Houston companies partner on sustainable plastics alternative

Lummus and Citroniq say their first plant, set for completion in 2027, will produce 400,000 metric tons of green polypropylene each year. Photo via lummustechnology.com

Two Houston companies, Lummus Technology and Citroniq Chemicals, have paired up to build North American plants that produce green polypropylene.

Polypropylene is a thermoplastic used to manufacture items such as plastic packaging, plastic parts, medical supplies, textiles, and fibers. Green polypropylene is made from biomass.

Lummus and Citroniq say their first plant, set for completion in 2027, will produce 400,000 metric tons of green polypropylene each year. The plant will be at an undisclosed location in the Midwest. Read more.

Prominent Houston energy business leader to retire, successor named

Amy Chronis is passing over the local leadership reins at Deloitte to Melinda Yee. Photos courtesy

Amy Chronis, a Houston business leader within the energy industry and beyond, is retiring next summer. Her replacement has been named.

Melinda Yee will be the incoming Houston managing partner at Deloitte, replacing Chronis who held the role along with the title vice chair and US energy and chemicals leader. Chronis will retire in June 2024, and Yee's new role is effective January 2.

“Melinda has been an active and valued member of Deloitte’s Houston leadership team. She brings an impressive depth of both industry and marketplace knowledge to her new role as managing partner,” Chronis says in a news release. “I am confident that she will be a great leader for our Houston professionals and in the local community.” Read more.

Central Texas wind energy facility goes online to power Target Corp.

This new Texas wind farm is now partly powering Target Corp. Photo via swiftcurrentenergy.com

A Texas wind energy project has officially delivered and is actively providing power to its customer, Target Corp.

Boston-based Swift Current Energy, which has an office in Houston, announced this week that its 197 MW Castle Gap Wind project is operational. It has the capacity to create enough pollution-free energy to power more than 50,000 homes annually.

"Castle Gap Wind is a momentous project for Swift Current Energy as we grow our projects under asset management and operations," Eric Lammers, CEO and co-founder of Swift Current Energy, says in a news release. "Castle Gap Wind is one of the earliest projects supported by the Inflation Reduction Act, and we are thankful for our partners at Target, Goldman Sachs, MUFG, CaixaBank and of course the entire Swift Current Energy team who helped make the Project possible." Read more.

ExxonMobil breaks ground on Texas carbon dioxide storage project

The rig stands 225 feet tall and extends 8,000 feet below the subsurface. Photo via exxonmobil.com

ExxonMobil announced this month that it has officially broken ground on a groundbreaking carbon dioxide storage site.

According to a release from the company, a new rig is currently being used to gather information about an underground site in Southeast Texas. The rig stands 225 feet tall, but more importantly extends 8,000 feet below the subsurface to investigate if the site is a safe place to store carbon underground.

“Everyone’s excited about this appraisal well because we’re literally breaking ground on a new chapter of our work to help reduce industrial emissions,” Joe Colletti, who oversees carbon capture and storage development along the Gulf Coast for Exxon, says in a statement. Read more.

New study from Houston research team looks at how the Earth cycles fossil carbon

A Rice University professor studied the Earth's carbon cycle in the Rio Madre de Dios to shed light on current climate conditions. Photo courtesy of Mark Torres/Rice University

Carbon cycles through Earth, its inhabitants, and its atmosphere on a regular basis, but not much research has been done on that process and qualifying it — until now.

In a recent study of a river system extending from the Peruvian Andes to the Amazon floodplains, Rice University’s Mark Torres and collaborators from five institutions proved that that high rates of carbon breakdown persist from mountaintop to floodplain.

“The purpose of this research was to quantify the rate at which Earth naturally releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and find out whether this process varies across different geographic locations,” Torres says. Read more.

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A View From HETI

Houston has its stamp on the project in multiple ways with Gulf LNG Tugs boasting two Houston area companies in Bay-Houston Management LLC and Suderman & Young Towing Company. Photo via glenfarneenergytransition.com

Texas LNG, a four million tonnes per annum liquefied natural gas export terminal to be constructed in the Port of Brownsville, and a subsidiary of Glenfarne Energy Transition, announced the selection of its new partner.

Gulf LNG Tugs of Texas will operate, build, and deliver tugboats under an agreement to assist LNG carriers arriving at the facility. Tugs of Texas is part of a consortium of Suderman & Young Towing Co., Bay-Houston Towing, and Moran Towing Corp., and the tugboats will be among the “most modern, low-emissions tugboats available to serve a facility of Texas LNG’s size” according to the company. This will also align with Texas LNG’s "Green by Design" approach, and the deal is a long-term agreement.

The projected port for Texas LNG is considered to be an area with consistent operating temperatures, and reliable maritime operations with lower probability of impact from inclement weather like storms and damage associated with them. Globally, Texas LNG is also designed to be one of the lowest-emitting export terminals. Texas LNG is developing the project site on the north shore of the Port of Brownsville. This area offers access to a deep-water ship channel in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the Panama Canal.

“Gulf LNG Tugs is excited to be providing marine services in a long-term partnership with Texas LNG,” the companies say in a joint statement. “We are proud to be the exclusive tug operator for LNG vessels to yet another successful LNG project in the Port of Brownsville and look forward to expanding our operations in the port and our presence in the Rio Grande Valley community."

Houston has its stamp on the project in multiple ways with Gulf LNG Tugs boasting two Houston area companies in Bay-Houston Management LLC and Suderman & Young Towing Company.

New York and Houston-based Glenfarne works to provide solutions to lower the world’s carbon footprint, which aligns with the common goals of all the companies involved.

“The Texas LNG team undertook a comprehensive process to identify a marine service provider that not only matches our commitment to environmental stewardship, but also provides our customers with reliable, cost-effective marine services,” Brendan Duval, CEO and Founder of Glenfarne Energy Transition said in a news release. “We are pleased to have Gulf LNG Tugs on board as a partner and look forward to the jobs and local content they will bring to both Texas LNG and the local Rio Grande Valley community."

Texas LNG recently announced that it signed a Heads of Agreement with EQT Corporation for natural gas liquefaction services for 0.5 MTPA of LNG, in addition to partnerships with Baker Hughes and ABB to help develop the terminal. This represents equipment selections for Texas LNG to date that is worth half a billion dollars’ worth.

Construction is slated to begin this year after the financing of the project is finalized.

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