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Houston-based corporation introduces two new energy transition tools

Houston-based energy technology company SLB has rolled out two new tools for the energy transition. Photo via slb.com

Houston-based energy technology company SLB has rolled out two new tools — one for evaluating sites for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) and the other for measuring methane levels.

SLB (Schlumberger) says the screening and ranking technology can help developers pinpoint ideal CCUS locations during the site selection process. The company says this tool helps simplify “a complex and multifaceted process.”

“CCUS is one of the most immediate opportunities to reduce emissions, but it must scale up by 100 to 200 times in less than three decades to have the expected impact on global net zero ambitions,” says Frederik Majkut, senior vice president of carbon solutions at SLB. “Ensuring that a storage site is both safer and economical is crucial for the speed, scale, and investment needed to meaningfully drive CCUS growth for a low-carbon energy ecosystem.”

The tool crunches data to identify the potential capabilities, economic viability, and risks of developing a CCUS project. The technology already has been used in Trinidad and Tobago, a two-island Caribbean country, to screen and rank possible CCUS sites.

“Using industry-leading and proprietary technologies and workflows, we provide a consistent and reliable method for screening and ranking potential storage sites, including an assessment of the risk, to ensure economic feasibility and long-term reliability,” SLB says on its website.

SLB unveiled the technology at the ADIPEC energy conference in the United Arab Emirates.

Prospective sites for CCUS projects include oil reservoirs, gas reservoirs, salt caves, and shale formations. More than 500 CCUS projects are in various stages of development around the world, according to the International Energy Agency.

Texas is poised to become a major player in the CCUS movement, with Houston set to serve as a hub for CCUS activity. Next March, Houston is hosting a major CCUS conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Sponsors of the event are the Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

The other tool released by SLB measures methane levels. Specifically, it’s a self-installed methane monitoring system that relies on sensors to detect, locate and assess emissions across oil and gas operations. Methane represents about half of the emissions from these operations.

“The technology automates continuous methane monitoring — eliminating the need for manual data collection during typical intermittent site visits, which only offers producers a small sample of their emissions,” says SLB.

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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