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ExxonMobil's CCUS acquisition, geothermal energy breakthrough, and more trending Houston news

Fervo Energy celebrated its successful pilot at the Ion — and more trending Houston energy transition news. Photo via Fervo Energy/LinkedIn

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 ExxonMobil acquiring a carbon capture biz, a Houston startup reporting commercial pilot success, and more.

Newly Houston-headquartered ExxonMobil acquires carbon capture company in $4.9B deal

ExxonMobil has placed a big bet on the carbon capture market. Photo via exxonmobil.com

Spring-based energy giant ExxonMobil is making a nearly $5 billion bet on its future in the carbon capture sector.

ExxonMobil announced July 13 that it has agreed to buy Plano-based Denbury, a publicly traded company specializing in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), in an all-stock deal valued at $4.9 billion. The deal’s value is based on ExxonMobil’s July 12 closing stock price — $89.45 per share.

Darren Woods, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, says the pending acquisition of Denbury “reflects our determination to profitably grow” his company’s low-carbon business unit.

The deal will give ExxonMobil the largest CO2 pipeline network in the U.S. at 1,300 miles, including nearly 925 miles in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, along with 10 onshore carbon sequestration sites. Continue reading,

Houston geothermal energy company announces major milestone

Houston-based Fervo Energy shared the results of its commercial pilot project with Google. Photo via Getty Images

A Houston energy startup has announced the news that every early-stage company wants to get to shout from the rooftops: the technology works.

Fervo Energy announced this week that its commercial pilot project has resulted in continuous carbon-free geothermal energy production. The full-scale commercial pilot, Project Red, is in northern Nevada and made possible through a 2021 partnership with Google.

“By applying drilling technology from the oil and gas industry, we have proven that we can produce 24/7 carbon-free energy resources in new geographies across the world," Tim Latimer, Fervo Energy CEO and co-founder, says in a news release. "The incredible results we share today are the product of many years of dedicated work and commitment from Fervo employees and industry partners, especially Google." Continue reading.

Houston mobile hydrogen generator company gets PE backing to expand its business

The company, based in Tomball, has developed a mobile, scalable energy source that can be used anywhere, anytime. Image via kaizencleanenergy.com

An innovative Houston-area company is on a mission to make using hydrogen energy easier and cheaper.

A recently announced partnership with investment firm, Balcor Companies, will help make this a reality as Kaizen Clean Energy looks to make hydrogen energy more accessible, reliable and affordable. Announced July 6, Balcor now has an ownership stake in Kaizen. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The company, based in Tomball, has developed a “micro grid” hydrogen power station — a mobile, scalable energy source that can be used anywhere, anytime. Continue reading.

Houston utility provider gifts $100,000 for energy-efficient upgrades in Galveston

Galveston residents spend 14 percent more a month on electricity, and CenterPoint stepped in to help shrink that gap. Photo courtesy of Vision Galveston

As Texas bakes in scorching summertime heat, a new program has been rolled out in Galveston to provide free energy-efficiency upgrades of homes.

The program, a collaboration between the nonprofit Vision Galveston and Houston-based CenterPoint Energy, is designed to reduce energy consumption and cut utility bills through projects like HVAC tune-ups, as well as installation of ceiling insulation, LED light bulbs, solar screens, and low-flow showerheads.

The program launched July 13 with three CenterPoint customers, all residents of Galveston’s Old Central Carver Park neighborhood, receiving energy-efficiency upgrades. Continue reading.

Energy storage startup moves into larger Houston-area space, plans to grow team

Plus Power, which recently relocated its HQ to Houston, has moved into a larger office space. Image via cushmanwakefield.com

A Northern California-born energy storage startup has established its headquarters in The Woodlands.

Plus Power, which develops battery systems designed to store backup power for electric grids, recently signed a lease for nearly 7,000 square feet at Three Hughes Landing in The Woodlands. The company previously was based in coworking space at the Rayford Office Park in Spring.

The company, founded in 2018, shifted its headquarters from San Francisco to the Houston area last year.

“We chose The Woodlands for its beauty, and walkable access to great nearby hotels, restaurants, and healthy groceries,” says Brandon Keefe, CEO of Plus Power. “A Houston base reflects our deep focus on the Texas market, as we are investing nearly $1 billion in several projects here that will be online by the first quarter of 2024, with more in [the works] behind that.” Continue reading.

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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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