According to McKinsey data, more than $3.5 trillion will be invested in green hydrogen, carbon capture, renewable energy, and other projects that are working toward net-zero transition by 2050. Photo via

A global management consulting company has executed on an acquisition key to its plans amid the energy transition.

McKinsey & Company announced the acquisition of Strategic Estimating Systems, a Sugar Land-based consulting firm specializing in cost estimation for oil, gas, and chemical process industries. The acquisition provides McKinsey with enhanced benchmarking capabilities across capital project management — especially within the energy transition.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"The capital projects ecosystem is presented with a once-in-a-generation chance to aid in transforming economies to achieve net zero," Justin Dahl, partner and global leader of McKinsey & Company's Capital Analytics, says in a news release. "By integrating SES's unmatched capabilities, we're not only enhancing our sustainability services, such as carbon capture, but also expanding the scope of our existing Capital Excellence capabilities to crucial industries and wider geographies."

"This allows our clients to gain an independent perspective on value, cost, and timing at every phase of the capital project lifecycle, thereby improving bottom-up estimating," Dahl continues. "Committed to innovation and excellence, this acquisition empowers us to explore new value dimensions and further refine our expertise in bottom-up estimating for our clients."

According to McKinsey data, more than $3.5 trillion will be invested in green hydrogen, carbon capture, renewable energy, and other projects that are working toward net-zero transition by 2050.

"We are thrilled to join McKinsey and expand our footprint to serve more clients on a larger scale," SES Founder and CEO Mike Monteith, who joins as Leader of McKinsey & Company's Capital Analytics, says in the release. "McKinsey is unparalleled in developing scalable and sustainable transformation strategies, leveraging industry leading insight and expertise in capital excellence.

"By working together, we will amplify our strengths, driving greater impact for clients at every stage of the capital project lifecycle, and delivering end-to-end transformations that create lasting value," he continues.

CeraPhi Energy acquired the business of Third Energy Limited, a former fracking company. Photo via

Geothermal co. with Houston office acquires former fracking biz

m&a moves

A geothermal company with Houston ties has made a strategic acquisition.

CeraPhi Energy acquired the business of Third Energy Limited, which is a former fracking company, with plans to repurpose the existing wells into clean geothermal energy centers. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition is set to include subsidiaries like Third Energy Trading Limited, Wolfland Renewables Limited, Wolfland Utilities Limited, Third Energy UK Gas Limited, and 50 percent holding in West Heslerton Renewables Limited.

The assets are located in North Yorkshire U.K. and include eight well sites consisting of 12 former gas wells in a suspended state, 22.4 km of 6-inch and 16.6 km of 3-inch subterranean pipelines and a further 22.4 km of buried fiber optic comms lines.

CeraPhi, which has a Houston office in Greentown Labs, completed a commercial demonstration of its CeraPhiWell system in 2023 using the Third Energy KMA site.

The company's strategy aims to “de-risk the scaling and commercialisation of large-scale heat networks using boreholes down to a depth of 2km, reducing the space required for deployment of large-scale systems and increasing the extraction of thermal energy available for network connections,” according to its website.

“By using the inexhaustible resource beneath our feet using closed-loop technology we can access this energy anywhere with zero environmental risk, requiring no hydraulic fracturing, no use of water and providing enough energy within the next 15 years to solve our energy crisis indefinitely,” says CEO Karl Farrow in a news release.

Talos, a technology-based energy company that aims to work towards low-carbon solutions, acquired QuarterNorth Energy Inc. Photo via

Houston energy company makes strategic acquisition in $1.29B deal

M&A moves

Houston-based Talos Energy Inc. announced a $1.29 billion acquisition this month.

Talos, a technology-based energy company that aims to work towards low-carbon solutions, acquired QuarterNorth Energy Inc., which has ownership in several big offshore fields, and is a privately-held U.S. Gulf of Mexico exploration and production company. The acquisition of the assets are expected to provide additional scale from high quality deepwater assets “with a favorable base decline profile along with attractive future development opportunities” from QuarterNorth.

QuarterNorth's assets include six major fields and are 95 percent operated and 95 percent in deepwater. The deal will add production of around 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day expected for 2024, which will average 75 percent oil.Talos will now expect run-rate synergies of about $50 million a year to be by end of 2024.

QuarterNorth's assets will bring ”significant reserves upside beyond current production from both producing probable zones and near-term development opportunities in 2024 and 2025” according to Talos.

“The addition of QuarterNorth's overlapping deepwater portfolio with valuable operated infrastructure will increase Talos's operational breadth and production profile while enhancing our margins and cash flow,” Talos President and CEO Timothy S. Duncan says in a news release. “This transaction aligns with Talos's overall strategy of leveraging existing infrastructure and complementary acreage to accelerate shareholder value creation. The pro forma footprint in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico should allow us to capture meaningful operating synergies.”

Talos secured $650 million in bridge financing from a syndicate of banks representing the majority sum of the company's reserves-based loan lender group.

“The expected financing structure of the transaction accelerates de-leveraging, immediately improves our credit profile, is accretive on key metrics, and positions us to consider additional capital return initiatives following deleveraging in the near term,” Duncan adds. “We look forward to completing this transaction in the next few months and continuing our strategy of building a large-scale, diverse energy company."

Pelican Energy has acquired Container Technologies Industries, a manufacturer of containment solutions for the nuclear industry. Photo via

Houston energy PE firm acquires nuclear infrastructure company

M&A move

A Houston-based private equity firm has made a strategic acquisition.

Pelican Energy has acquired Container Technologies Industries from a group of private shareholders. CTI is a manufacturer of containment solutions for the nuclear industry and a certified HUBZone small-business whose customers include the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Defense and the commercial-nuclear space. Pelican makes investments in energy equipment and serves oil and gas companies and those in the nuclear sectors.

Pelican also named Danielle Castley as president of CTI. Castley has a PhD in material science with a background in radiation shielding material. She comes with over 10 years of experience in the nuclear industry. In addition to the majority buyout of legacy shareholders, Pelican will invest growth capital into business to expand capacity.

"CTI is a great company with a 20+ year track record of expansion,” Mike Scott, the founding partner of Pelican, says in a news release. “The company's highly-experienced team has a reputation of delivering the highest quality containment solutions, including specialty products and industry-standard containers. The business is well positioned to deliver products for growing customer demand."

The Houston company will now work closely with CTI’s homebase in Helenwood, Tennessee.

“We are excited to continue serving the Department of Energy and the thriving commercial nuclear industry,” Castley says in a news release. “I also look forward to leading CTI to innovate in manufacturing to address the emerging needs of advanced reactors.

"CTI will also expand our production capabilities to support Governor Lee's intent of establishing Tennessee as the leader of America's nuclear supply chain," she continues. "CTI is located in Helenwood, an economic development zone, where CTI will be actively recruiting to employ and train the next generation nuclear manufacturing workforce."

Houston-based Southwestern Energy will combine with Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy. Photo via

Houston energy company to combine with Chesapeake in $7.4B deal

M&A moves

Chesapeake Energy and Southwestern Energy are combining in a $7.4 billion all-stock deal to form one of the biggest natural gas producers in the U.S.

There have been a string of deals in the energy sector, including the nearly $60 billion acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources by ExxonMobil and a $53 billion deal between Chevron and Hess.

Southwestern shareholders will receive 0.0867 shares of Chesapeake common stock for each outstanding share of Southwestern common stock at closing.

Chesapeake shareholders will own about 60 percent of the combined company, while Southwestern shareholders will own approximately 40 percent.

The transaction, valued at $6.69 per share, will create a company that has large scale acreage in the Appalachia region and Haynesville, Louisiana. It has current net production of approximately 7.9 Bcfe/d with more than 5,000 gross locations and 15 years of inventory.

“The world is short energy and demand for our products is growing, both in the U.S. and overseas," Chesapeake CEO Nick Dell’Osso said in a prepared statement Thursday. "We will be positioned to deliver more natural gas at a lower cost, accelerating America’s energy reach and fueling a more affordable, reliable, and lower carbon future."

The combined company will build a facility in Houston to supply lower-cost, lower carbon energy to meet increasing domestic and international liquefied natural gas demand.

The combined company will have a new name, but that has not yet been disclosed.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter. It still needs approval from Chesapeake and Southwestern shareholders.

Shares of Southwestern, based in Houston, declined more than 3 percent before the market opened, while shares of Chesapeake, based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, rose slightly.

Merichem Company has created a new business unit that's been acquired by a private equity firm. Photo via Getty Images

Houston chemical company divests new tech arm to PE

M&A moves

A New Orleans-based private equity firm has announced the acquisition of a Houston chemical company's technology business unit, the business announced today.

Black Bay Energy Capital acquired a portion of Merichem Company’s business — including its Merichem Process Technologies and Merichem Catalyst Products, which will collectively be renamed Merichem Technologies. Merichem's caustic services business, which handles spent caustic for beneficial reuse, will be maintained by the company.

Cyndie Fredrick has been promoted to CEO of Merichem Technologies. She previously served as Merichem's senior vice president and general manager of Merichem Process Technologies. She's joined by CFO Rene Campos, Senior Vice President of Technology Jeff Gomach, and Senior Vice President of Catalysts William Rouleau, who are all former managers within Merichem.

“The Merichem Technologies team has successfully deployed highly engineered and patented technologies, chemical catalysts, and mechanical solutions to various end markets including liquified natural gas, midstream oil and gas, refining of traditional crude and renewable feedstocks, biogas/landfill/RNG production, geothermal energy production, and chemical manufacturing," Fredrick says in a news release. "Merichem Company has been a fantastic steward of this business for decades, and the entire Merichem Technologies team is excited about our new partnership with Black Bay and the ability to pursue new avenues for growth.”

Additionally, Merichem Company's CEO Kendra Lee will join the Merichem Technologies board. Lee's grandfather founded the company in 1945, and she told EnergyCapital last year that she hopes to continue the legacy of the company, which designs and fabricates equipment for sulfur removal.

“Our reputation has always stood on the principles of proven performance, unsurpassed expertise, and an uncommon commitment to our customers," Lee says in the release. "This divesture is a major milestone for Merichem Company as we continue to execute on our strategic vision, further cementing our leadership position in caustic services.”

Black Bay focuses on the energy and specialty chemical sectors, but the Merichem Technologies acquisition brings a new sulfur-treating platform to the firm.

“Sulfur treatment is a critical path item across many industrial applications around the world. Hydrogen sulfide, mercaptans, carbon dioxide, and other related impurities must be dealt with to ensure environmental compliance, sustainable operations, and a saleable end product," Tom Ambrose, partner of Black Bay, says in the release.

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Texas-based Tesla gets China's initial approval of self-driving software

global greenlight

Shares of Tesla stock rallied Monday after the electric vehicle maker's CEO, Elon Musk, paid a surprise visit to Beijing over the weekend and reportedly won tentative approval for its driving software.

Musk met with a senior government official in the Chinese capital Sunday, just as the nation’s carmakers are showing off their latest electric vehicle models at the Beijing auto show.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Chinese officials told Tesla that Beijing has tentatively approved the automaker's plan to launch its “Full Self-Driving,” or FSD, software feature in the country.

Although it's called FSD, the software still requires human supervision. On Friday the U.S. government’s auto safety agency said it is investigating whether last year’s recall of Tesla’s Autopilot driving system did enough to make sure drivers pay attention to the road. Tesla has reported 20 more crashes involving Autopilot since the recall, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In afternoon trading, shares in Tesla Inc., which is based in Austin, Texas, surged to end Monday up more than 15% — its biggest one-day jump since February 2020. For the year to date, shares are still down 22%.

Tesla has been contending with its stock slide and slowing production. Last week, the company said its first-quarter net income plunged by more than half, but it touted a newer, cheaper car and a fully autonomous robotaxi as catalysts for future growth.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called the news about the Chinese approval a “home run” for Tesla and maintained his “Outperform” rating on the stock.

“We note Tesla has stored all data collected by its Chinese fleet in Shanghai since 2021 as required by regulators in Beijing,” Ives wrote in a note to investors. “If Musk is able to obtain approval from Beijing to transfer data collected in China abroad this would be pivotal around the acceleration of training its algorithms for its autonomous technology globally.”

Houston organization celebrates zero waste goal

earth day win

Discovery Green celebrated Earth Day with a major milestone this year — achieving it’s Zero Waste goal.

The nonprofit, along with Citizens’ Environmental Coalition and Houston Public Works, are announced that the 2024 Green Mountain Energy Earth Day, which generated more than 3,800 pounds of garbage, diverted the majority of that waste from landfills. "Zero Waste," as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, is successfully diverting at least 90 percent of waste from the landfill.

On Earth Day, Discovery Green composted 2,200 pounds of waste and recycled 1,300 pounds of trash.

“Part of Discovery Green Conservancy’s mission is to serve as a village green for our city and be a source of health and happiness for all. Our goal is to sustain an exceptional environment for nature and people,” Discover Green President Kathryn Lott says in a news release. “We are beyond thrilled to have achieved Zero Waste certification.”

The achievement was made possible by volunteers from the University of Houston – Downtown.

Steve Stelzer, president of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition’s board of directors, acknowledged how rare the achievement is in a public space in a major city like Houston.

“Discovery Green Conservancy stepped up and made a commitment to weigh, measure and record everything. They should be congratulated to have done this at this scale,” Stelzer adds. “The Conservancy said they were going to do it and they did. It’s an amazing accomplishment.”

The 2024 event included:

  • 31,000 visitors in attendance
  • 60 + exhibitors
  • 100 + volunteers
  • 12 artists
    • 9 chalk artists
    • Donkeeboy and Donkeemom
    • Mark Bradford
  • 25 Mark Bradford artworks made of scrap presented in partnership with Houston First
  • 4 short films shown
  • 3,836.7 pounds of waste collected during Green Mountain Energy Earth Day

Texas hydrogen research hub opens to support statewide, DOE-backed initiative

hi to hydrogen

A Texas school has cut the ribbon on a new hydrogen-focused research facility that will play a role in a statewide, Department of Energy-funded energy transition initiative.

The Center for Electromechanics at The University of Texas, Frontier Energy, Inc., and GTI Energy celebrated the grand opening of a hydrogen research and demonstration facility in Austin as part of the “Demonstration and Framework for H2@Scale in Texas and Beyond” project, which is supported by the DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office.

The hydrogen proto-hub is first-of-its-kind and part of Texas-wide initiative for a cleaner hydrogen economy and will feature contributions from organizations throughout the state. The facility will generate zero-carbon hydrogen by using water electrolysis powered by solar and wind energy, and steam methane reformation of renewable natural gas from a Texas landfill.

The hydrogen will be used to power a stationary fuel cell for power for the Texas Advanced Computing Center, and it will also supply zero-emission fuel to cell drones and a fleet of Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicles. This method will mark the first time that multiple renewable hydrogen supplies and uses have been networked at one location to show an economical hydrogen ecosystem that is scalable.

“The H2@Scale in Texas project builds on nearly two decades of UT leadership in hydrogen research and development” Michael Lewis, Research Scientist, UT Austin Center for Electromechanics, say in a news release. “With this facility, we aim to provide the educated workforce and the engineering data needed for success. Beyond the current project, the hydrogen research facility is well-positioned for growth and impact in the emerging clean hydrogen industry.”

Over 20 sponsors and industry stakeholders are involved and include Houston-based partners in Center for Houston’s Future and Rice University Baker Institute for Public Policy. Industry heavyweights like Chevron, Toyota, ConocoPhillips, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are also part of the effort.

Texas hydrogen infrastructure and wind and solar resources position the state for clean hydrogen production, as evident in the recently released study, “A Framework for Hydrogen in Texas.” The study was part of a larger effort that started in 2020 with the H2@Scale project, which aims to develop clearer paths to renewable hydrogen as a “clean and cost-effective fuel” according to a news release. The facility will serve as an academic research center, and a model for future large-scale hydrogen deployments.

Participants in the DOE-funded HyVelocity Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub will aim to gain insights from the H2@Scale project at UT Austin. The project will build towards a development of a comprehensive hydrogen network across the region. HyVelocity is a hub that includes AES Corporation, Air Liquide, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Mitsubishi Power Americas, Orsted, and Sempra Infrastructure. The GTI Energy administered HyVelocity involves The University of Texas at Austin, the Center for Houston’s Future, and Houston Advanced Research Center.

“H2@Scale isn't just about producing low-carbon energy, it's about creating clean energy growth opportunities for communities throughout Texas and the nation,” Adam Walburger, president of Frontier Energy, says in a news release. “By harnessing renewable energy resources to create zero-carbon hydrogen, we can power homes, businesses, transportation, and agriculture – all while creating jobs and reducing emissions.”