betting on dac

Oxy acquires carbon capture co. in $1.1B deal

Occidental says its all-cash acquisition of Canada-based Carbon Engineering is set to close by the end of 2023. Photo via carbonengineering.com

In yet another bet on direct carbon capture (DAC), Houston-based Occidental has agreed to purchase a DAC technology company for $1.1 billion.

Occidental says its all-cash acquisition of Canada-based Carbon Engineering is set to close by the end of 2023. Carbon Engineering was founded in 2009.

Under the deal, Carbon Engineering would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, the investment arm of Occidental. Carbon Engineering employees will work with teams at Occidental and its low-carbon subsidiary, 1PointFive, on DAC technology. The company’s R&D and innovation units will remain in Squamish, British Columbia.

Occidental has been a key DAC partner of Carbon Engineering since 2019.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Carbon Engineering team, which has been a leader in pioneering and advancing DAC technology,” Vicki Hollub, president and CEO of Occidental, says in an August 15 news release. “Together, Occidental and Carbon Engineering can accelerate plans to globally deploy DAC technology at a climate-relevant scale and make DAC the preferred solution for businesses seeking to remove their hard-to-abate emissions.”

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate owns about one-fourth of the shares of publicly traded Occidental.

In conjunction with Carbon Engineering, Occidental’s 1PointFive is building Stratos, the world’s largest DAC plant. The Ector County facility, scheduled to begin operating in mid-2025, is projected to extract up to 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year. It’s anticipated that Stratos will employ more than 1,000 people during construction and up to 75 people once the plant is up and running.

Occidental and Carbon Engineering are adapting Stratos’ engineering and design features for a DAC plant to be built on a site at South Texas’ King Ranch. The South Texas DAC Hub, which is on track to create about 2,500 jobs, recently received a roughly $600 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

1PointFive plans to open as many as 135 DAC facilities around the world by 2035, with the capacity to capture 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year.

DAC technology pulls carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere at any location and permanently stores the CO2 or uses it for other purposes. By contrast, carbon capture sucks carbon dioxide from the air near where emissions are generated and then permanently stores the CO2 or uses it for other purposes.

A DAC system vacuums about 50 percent to 60 percent of the carbon dioxide from the air that passes through the system’s fans.

DAC “is shaping up to be a key component of meeting net-zero emissions goals in the United States,” according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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A View From HETI

After recently divesting from wind and solar energy initiatives, Shell has plans to quadruple EV charging stations in the next several years. Photo via shell.com

As it downshifts sales of fuel for traditional vehicles, energy giant Shell is stepping up its commitment to public charging stations for electric vehicles.

In a new report on energy transition, Shells lays out an aggressive plan for growing its public network of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). The company plans to boost the global number of public EV charging stations from about 54,000 today to around 70,000 by 2025 and about 200,000 by 2030.

The projected growth from today to 2030 would represent a 270 percent increase in the number of Shell-operated EV charging stations.

“We have a major competitive advantage in terms of locations, as our global network of service stations is one of the largest in the world,” Shell says in the report.

Shell’s global network of service stations is shrinking, though. In the report, the company reveals plans to close a total of 1,000 gas stations in 2024 and 2025. Today, more than 45,000 Shell-branded gas stations are located in over 90 countries.

Aside from Shell gas stations, the company’s Shell Recharge business unit operates public EV charging stations along streets, at grocery stores, and at other locations in 33 countries.

Shell, whose U.S. headquarters is in Houston, is ramping up its EV charging network amid forecasts of slowing demand for oil and rising demand for EVs. Other than EV charging, Shell is focusing on biofuels and integrated power as components of its revamped product mix.

“Shell is well positioned to become a profitable leader in public charging for electric vehicles, meeting the growing demand from drivers who need to charge on the go,” the report says.

To accelerate its EV charging presence in the U.S., Shell in 2023 purchased Volta, a San Francisco-based operator of EV charging stations. Shell says it now operates one of the largest public EV charging networks in the U.S., with more than 3,000 charging points in 31 states and another 3,400 under development.

“The availability of charging points will be critical for the growth in electric vehicles,” the report says.

Last month, Shell divested from a solar energy subsidiary, before later announcing an exit from a wind energy joint venture.

"In-line with our Powering Progress strategy, Shell continues to hone our portfolio of renewable generation projects in key markets where we have an advantaged position," Glenn Wright, senior vice president at Shell Energy Americas, said in a news release at the time.

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