teaming up

UH to explore repurposing offshore tech for clean energy with new partnership

The two companies will work closely with UH's Repurposing Offshore Infrastructure for Clean Energy Project Collaborative, or the ROICE project. Photo via UH.edu

The University of Houston has signed a memorandum of understanding with two Houston-based companies that aims to repurpose offshore infrastructure for the energy transition.

The partnership with Promethean Energy and Endeavor Management ensures that the two companies will work closely with UH's Repurposing Offshore Infrastructure for Clean Energy Project Collaborative, or the ROICE project. The collaborative is supported by about 40 institutions to address the economic and technical challenges behind repurposing offshore wells, according to a statement from UH. It's funded in part by the Department of the Treasury through the State of Texas.

“These MOUs formalize our mutual commitment to advance the industry's implementation of energy transition strategies,” Ram Seetharam, Energy Center officer and ROICE program lead, said in the statement. “Together, we aim to create impactful solutions that will benefit both the energy sector and society as a whole.”

UH announced the partnership last week. Photo via UH.edu

Promethean Energy develops, produces, and decommissions mature assets in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner. It began working on the temporary abandonment of nine wells located in the Matagorda Island lease area in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year.

According to Clint Boman, senior vice president of operations at Promethean, it is slated to become the first ROICE operator of a repurposed oil and gas facility in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Promethean Energy is focused on being the best, last steward of offshore oil and gas production assets, and our strategy is fully aligned with an orderly energy transition,” Borman said in the statement.

Endeavor Management is a consulting firm that works in several industries, including oil and gas, industrial service, transportation, technology and more.

“Our collaboration for this ROICE phase and with the RPC will blend our offshore operations expertise, our years of experience addressing evolving regulatory requirements with our decades of creating innovative commercial enterprises to meet the demands of energy transition” John McKeever, chief growth officer of Endeavor Management, said in the statement. “Together, we will create the blueprint that drives real business impact with the application of clean energy principles.”

The new partnerships will help foster ROICE's second phase. The first was focused on research and reports on how to implement ROICE projects, with the latest published earlier this month. This second phase will focus on innovation and implementation frameworks.

Additionally, at the signing of the MOU, ROICE revealed its new logo that features an oil and gas platform that's been transformed to feature wind turbines, a hydrogen tank and other symbols of the energy transition.

This spring, UH signed a memorandum of understanding with Heriot-Watt University in Scotland to focus on hydrogen energy solutions. The following month, Rice University announced it had inked a strategic partnership agreement with Université Paris Sciences & Lettres to collaborate on "fields of energy and climate," among other pressing issues. Click here to read more.

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A View From HETI

Nádia Skorupa Parachin joined Cemvita as vice president of industrial biotechnology. Photo courtesy of Cemvita

Houston-based biotech company Cemvita recently tapped two executives to help commercialize its sustainable fuel made from carbon waste.

Nádia Skorupa Parachin came aboard as vice president of industrial biotechnology, and Phil Garcia was promoted to vice president of commercialization.

Parachin most recently oversaw several projects at Boston-based biotech company Ginkjo Bioworks. She previously co-founded Brazilian biotech startup Integra Bioprocessos.

Parachin will lead the Cemvita team that’s developing technology for production of bio-manufactured oil.

“It’s a fantastic moment, as we’re poised to take our prototyping to the next level, and all under the innovative direction of our co-founder Tara Karimi,” Parachin says in a news release. “We will be bringing something truly remarkable to market and ensuring it’s cost-effective.”

Moji Karimi, co-founder and CEO of Cemvita, says the hiring of Parachin represents “the natural next step” toward commercializing the startup’s carbon-to-oil process.

“Her background prepared her to bring the best out of the scientists at the inflection point of commercialization — really bringing things to life,” says Moji Karimi, Tara’s brother.

Parachin joins Garcia on Cemvita’s executive team.

Before being promoted to vice president of commercialization, Garcia was the startup’s commercial director and business development manager. He has a background in engineering and business development.

Founded in 2017, Cemvita recently announced a breakthrough that enables production of large quantities of oil derived from carbon waste.

In 2023, United Airlines agreed to buy up to one billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Cemvita’s first full-scale plant over the course of 20 years.

Cemvita’s investors include the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, an investment arm of Chicago-based United; Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, an investment arm of Houston-based energy company Occidental Petroleum; and Japanese equipment and machinery manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

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