The Houston-based executive makes the list of along with John Kerry, Bill Gates, and more. Photo via exxonmobil.com

A Houston energy executive has made the cut on an inaugural ranking of top climate action leaders.

TIME magazine’s first-ever TIME100 Climate list, which highlights “100 of the world’s most influential leaders driving climate action in business,” and ExxonMobil’s president of Low Carbon Solution business Dan Ammann has made it onto the list.

“The real credit goes to the ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions team for the progress we’ve made so far,“ Amann says in a LinkedIn post. “It’s great to see the world recognizing that ExxonMobil has a major role to play in accelerating the world’s path to net zero.”

The list also includes John Kerry, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate; Bill Gates, founder of Breakthrough Energy Ventures; and others.

Some of ExxonMobil’s recent highlights include the announcement of a plan to become a leading supplier of lithium to support electric vehicles, reaching a new milestone in the volume of CO2 emissions that the company agreed to store for industrial customers along the U.S. Gulf Coast – up to 5 million metric tons per year, expanded ability to further reduce emissions by acquiring the largest CO2 pipeline network in the U.S.C, and working on building the world’s largest low-carbon hydrogen plant in Baytown, which is outside of Houston.

“It’s great to be included in this prestigious list and I’m proud of the team’s efforts to advance real solutions that will help reduce the world’s emissions,” Ammann says in ExxonMobil's news release.

He joined ExxonMobil in 2022 following a career in Silicon Valley as CEO of Cruise, as well as stops in Detroit as president of General Motors and on Wall Street when he was managing director at Morgan Stanley.

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

ExxonMobil breaks ground on Texas carbon dioxide storage project

digging in

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.

Exxon plans to move the rig to other sites in the Gulf Coast in the future for clients Nucor Corp., CF Industries and Linde.

In the last year, Exxon has made agreements with these regional companies to store carbon captured from their operations.

  • Exxon agreed to transport and permanently store up to 2.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year from Linde’s hydrogen production facility in Beaumont, Texas when it launches in 2025.
  • Exxon agreed to store up to 2 million metric tons per year of CO2 captured from CF Industries’ ammonia plant in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, starting in 2025.
  • Exxon agreed to capture, transport and store up to 800,000 metric tons per year of CO2 from Nucor’s direct reduced iron manufacturing site in Convent, Louisiana starting in 2026.

Together, the three agreements represent a total of 5 million metric tons per year that Exxon plans to transport and store for third-party customers.

“Our agreement with Nucor is the latest example of how we’re delivering on our mission to help accelerate the world's path to net zero and build a compelling new business,” Dan Ammann, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, says in a statement over the summer. “Momentum is building as customers recognize our ability to solve emission challenges at scale.”

In addition to the carbon storage agreements, the energy giant also completed the acquisition of Denbury Inc. this month in an all-stock transaction valued at $4.9 billion. The deal adds more than 1,300 miles, including nearly 925 miles of CO2 pipelines in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi to Exxon's CO2 pipeline network.

The deal was first announced this summer.

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

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

M&A Moves

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.

Dan Ammann, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, says Denbury’s CO2 infrastructure “provides significant opportunities to expand and accelerate ExxonMobil’s low-carbon leadership across our Gulf Coast value chains.”

“Once fully developed and optimized,” Ammann adds, “this combination of assets and capabilities has the potential to profitably reduce emissions by more than 100 million metric tons per year in one of the highest-emitting regions of the U.S.”

ExxonMobil explains that CCUS — when carbon dioxide is captured and stored deep underground instead of being released into the atmosphere — is viewed as critical to meeting net-zero goals. The company forecasts the global market for CCUS will catapult to $4 trillion by 2050. Houston-based consulting firm Rystad Energy predicts total spending on CCUS projects in 2023 will reach $7.4 billion.

In addition to Denbury’s CCUS assets, the deal with ExxonMobil includes Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain oil and natural gas operations. These assets consist of reserves exceeding the equivalent of 200 million barrels of oil, with 47,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day of current production.

Directors at ExxonMobil and Denbury have unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Denbury, founded in 1951, posted $1.7 billion in revenue last year, up from 36 percent from 2021.

Chris Kendall, president and CEO of Denbury, launched his oil and gas career at Mobil Oil. Mobil merged with Exxon in 1999 to form the country’s largest oil and gas company, which just made official its headquarters relocation from Irving to Spring.

ExxonMobil generated revenue of nearly $413.7 billion in 2022, making it one of the country’s biggest publicly traded companies.

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ExxonMobil revs up EV pilot in Permian Basin

seeing green

ExxonMobil has upgraded its Permian Basin fleet of trucks with sustainability in mind.

The Houston-headquartered company announced a new pilot program last week, rolling out 10 new all-electric pickup trucks at its Cowboy Central Delivery Point in southeast New Mexico. It's the first time the company has used EVs in any of its upstream sites, including the Permian Basin.

“We expect these EV trucks will require less maintenance, which will help reduce cost, while also contributing to our plan to achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions in our Permian operations by 2030," Kartik Garg, ExxonMobil's New Mexico production manager, says in a news release.

ExxonMobil has already deployed EV trucks at its facilities in Baytown, Beaumont, and Baton Rouge, but the Permian Basin, which accounts for about half of ExxonMobil's total U.S. oil production, is a larger site. The company reports that "a typical vehicle there can log 30,000 miles a year."

The EV rollout comes after the company announced last year that it plans to be a major supplier of lithium for EV battery technology.

At the end of last year, ExxonMobil increased its financial commitment to implementing more sustainable solutions. The company reported that it is pursuing more than $20 billion of lower-emissions opportunities through 2027.

Cowboys and the EVs of the Permian Basin | ExxonMobilyoutu.be

Energy industry veteran named CEO of Houston hydrogen co.

GOOD AS GOLD

Cleantech startup Gold H2, a spinout of Houston-based energy biotech company Cemvita, has named oil and gas industry veteran Prabhdeep Singh Sekhon as its CEO.

Sekhon previously held roles at companies such as NextEra Energy Resources and Hess. Most recently, he was a leader on NextEra’s strategy and business development team.

Gold H2 uses microbes to convert oil and gas in old, uneconomical wells into clean hydrogen. The approach to generating clean hydrogen is part of a multibillion-dollar market.

Gold H2 spun out of Cemvita last year with Moji Karimi, co-founder of Cemvita, leading the transition. Gold H2 spun out after successfully piloting its microbial hydrogen technology, producing hydrogen below 80 cents per kilogram.

The Gold H2 venture had been a business unit within Cemvita.

“I was drawn to Gold H2 because of its innovative mission to support the U.S. economy in this historical energy transition,” Sekhon says in a news release. “Over the last few years, my team [at NextEra] was heavily focused on the commercialization of clean hydrogen. When I came across Gold H2, it was clear that it was superior to each of its counterparts in both cost and [carbon intensity].”

Gold H2 explains that oil and gas companies have wrestled for decades with what to do with exhausted oil fields. With Gold H2’s first-of-its-kind biotechnology, these companies can find productive uses for oil wells by producing clean hydrogen at a low cost, the startup says.

“There is so much opportunity ahead of Gold H2 as the first company to use microbes in the subsurface to create a clean energy source,” Sekhon says. “Driving this dynamic industry change to empower clean hydrogen fuel production will be extremely rewarding.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

Q&A: CEO of bp-acquired RNG producer on energy sustainability, stability

the view from heti

bp’s Archaea Energy is the largest renewable natural gas (RNG) producer in the U.S., with an industry leading RNG platform and expertise in developing, constructing and operating RNG facilities to capture waste emissions and convert them into low carbon fuel.

Archaea partners with landfill owners, farmers and other facilities to help them transform their feedstock sources into RNG and convert these facilities into renewable energy centers.

Starlee Sykes, Archaea Energy’s CEO, shared more about bp’s acquisition of the company and their vision for the future.

HETI: bp completed its acquisition of Archaea in December 2022. What is the significance of this acquisition for bp, and how does it bolster Archaea’s mission to create sustainability and stability for future generations?  

Starlee Sykes: The acquisition was an important move to accelerate and grow our plans for bp’s bioenergy transition growth engine, one of five strategic transition growth engines. Archaea will not only play a pivotal role in bp’s transition and ambition to reach net zero by 2050 or sooner but is a key part of bp’s plan to increase biogas supply volumes.

HETI: Tell us more about how renewable natural gas is used and why it’s an important component of the energy transition?  

SS: Renewable natural gas (RNG) is a type of biogas generated by decomposing organic material at landfill sites, anaerobic digesters and other waste facilities – and demand for it is growing. Our facilities convert waste emissions into renewable natural gas. RNG is a lower carbon fuel, which according to the EPA can help reduce emissions, improve local air quality, and provide fuel for homes, businesses and transportation. Our process creates a productive use for methane which would otherwise be burned or vented to the atmosphere. And in doing so, we displace traditional fossil fuels from the energy system.

HETI: Archaea recently brought online a first-of-its-kind RNG plant in Medora, Indiana. Can you tell us more about the launch and why it’s such a significant milestone for the company?  

SS:Archaea’s Medora plant came online in October 2023 – it was the first Archaea RNG plant to come online since bp’s acquisition. At Medora, we deployed the Archaea Modular Design (AMD) which streamlines and accelerates the time it takes to build our plants. Traditionally, RNG plants have been custom-built, but AMD allows plants to be built on skids with interchangeable components for faster builds.

HETI: Now that the Medora plant is online, what does the future hold? What are some of Archaea’s priorities over the next 12 months and beyond?  

SS: We plan to bring online around 15 RNG plants in each of 2024 and 2025. Archaea has a development pipeline of more than 80 projects that underpin the potential for around five-fold growth in RNG production by 2030.

We will continue to operate around 50 sites across the US – including RNG plants, digesters and landfill gas-to-electric facilities.

And we are looking to the future. For example, at our Assai plant in Pennsylvania, the largest RNG plant in the US, we are in the planning stages to drill a carbon capture sequestration (CCS) appraisal well to determine if carbon dioxide sequestration could be feasible at this site, really demonstrating our commitment to decarbonization and the optionality in value we have across our portfolio.

HETI: bp has had an office in Washington, DC for many years. Can you tell us more about the role that legislation has to play in the energy transition? 

SS: Policy can play a critical role in advancing the energy transition, providing the necessary support to accelerate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We actively advocate for such policies through direct lobbying, formal comments and testimony, communications activities and advertising. We also advocate with regulators to help inform their rulemakings, as with the US Environmental Protection Agency to support the finalization of a well-designed electric Renewable Identification Number (eRIN) program.

HETI: Science and innovation are key drivers of the energy transition. In your view, what are some of most exciting innovations supporting the goal to reach net-zero emissions?  

SS: We don’t just talk about innovation in bp, we do it – and have been for many years. This track record gives us confidence in continuing to transform, change and innovate at pace and scale. The Archaea Modular Design is a great example of the type of innovation that bp supports which enables us to pursue our goal of net-zero emissions.

Beyond Archaea, we have engineers and scientists across bp who are working on innovative solutions with the goal of lowering emissions. We believe that we need to invest in lower carbon energy to meet the world’s climate objectives, but we also need to invest in today’s energy system, which is primarily hydrocarbon focused. It’s an ‘and’ not ‘or’ approach, and we need both to be successful.

Learn more about Archaea and the work they are doing in energy transition.

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This article originally ran on the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative blog. HETI exists to support Houston's future as an energy leader. For more information about the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, EnergyCapitalHTX's presenting sponsor, visit htxenergytransition.org.