Energy transition

Tracking the Energy Transition: A Home for Carbon, Hydrogen on the Move, and New Life for Old Wells

Denbury acquires carbon-storage land in the South, Baker Hughes forms a new wells consortium, and Chevron and BP expand their investments. Hydrogen takes center stage across the globe, while the international energy transition makes strides toward its goals.

Carbon Dioxide
Source: enot-poloskun/Getty Images

Mississippi soon will be home to a new CO2 sequestration site. Development of the site will take place as part of an agreement between Denbury and Weyerhaeuser. The lease agreement provides Denbury with the exclusive right to develop and operate approximately 16,000 acres of subsurface pore space owned by Weyerhaeuser in Simpson and Copiah Counties in Mississippi. An estimated 275 million metric tons of CO2 is reported to be in the sequestration area.

“Our agreement with Weyerhaeuser is a significant step in building out the Gulf Coast’s leading CO2 transportation and sequestration network,” said Nik Wood, Denbury’s senior vice president for carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS). “The location of this Mississippi site, directly adjacent to our existing pipeline network, provides for a very efficient development and increases the overall flexibility and capacity of our operations. We now have the pathways to move industrial-sourced CO2 from the Mississippi River Industrial corridor north on our NEJD pipeline, west on our Green Pipeline, and east to our previously announced planned storage in southeast Louisiana.”

Denbury also announced it has acquired 31,000 acres in Allen, Beauregard, and Vernon Parishes, in southwest Louisiana for a second sequestration site. This latest development is 25 miles north of Denbury’s Green Pipeline and is speculated to contain up to 250 million metric tons of CO2.

“Denbury has unparalleled experience and CO2 pipeline infrastructure in the US Gulf Coast for the transportation and storage of CO2,” Wood said. “Today’s announcement adds an important piece in the development of our CCUS business, providing another significant future storage site in close proximity to our pipeline infrastructure, which naturally expands the reliability and future capacity of our network.”

Baker Hughes Looks Toward Well Transformation
Baker Hughes announced this month the formation of a new consortium, Wells2Watts, which focuses on the transformation of dry nonproductive geothermal wells and nonproductive oil and gas wells into geothermal wells. The transformation will result in the generation of renewable electrical power. “This unique geothermal consortium supports Baker Hughes’ strategic commitment to position for new frontiers by innovating new opportunities for traditional oil and gas customers to generate low-carbon and geothermal solutions,” said Maria Claudia Borras, executive vice president of oilfield services and equipment at Baker Hughes. “Further, this highlights our disciplined approach to long-term, sustainable growth to bring renewable energy in the US and beyond.”

Wells2Watts will begin working with wells in North America and Asia Pacific, with its first project taking place at the Baker Hughes Energy Innovation Center at the Hamm Institute for American Energy in Oklahoma City.

Chevron Ventures Into CCUS Investment
Chevron New Energies announced its investment in Svante, a carbon capture and removal technology company. The investment comes in Svante’s Series E fundraising round, which raised funds to advance Svante’s carbon capture technology. “We are advancing a full value chain carbon capture, utilization, and storage business and believe Svante is poised to be a leader in enabling carbon capture solutions,” said Chris Powers, vice president of CCUS with CNE. “Innovation is key to enabling these types of breakthrough technologies and lower-carbon solutions, and we look forward to applying our experience and expertise to help drive this effort forward.”

Svante, founded in 2007, has developed carbon capture and removal technology using structured adsorbent beds, known as filters. This funding will support Svante’s commercial-scale filter manufacturing facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, which is anticipated to produce enough filter modules to capture millions of tonnes of CO2 per year across hundreds of large-scale carbon capture and storage facilities.

BP Invests in Solar Panels
A $20 million (Australian) investment from BP Ventures in 5B Holdings, an Australian renewable energy company, was recently announced. 5B’s work in the renewable energy sector includes the rapid deployment of solar power at scale. The company’s leading technology, the 5B Maverick, consists of up to 90 solar panels mounted on specially designed frames that can be unfolded and installed quickly. The investment will help support 5B’s growth and expand the company internationally, including the construction of a manufacturing facility in North America. As it stands, 5B technology is available at more than 100 sites, generating a total of 60 MW of energy.

Provaris Makes History With Hydrogen Carrier Approval
The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has reviewed, verified, and approved the design of Provaris’ 26,000 m3 H2Neo compressed hydrogen (H2) carrier, the first of its kind. The company announced that its next step includes selecting a shipyard and construction of a prototype, with testing beginning in 2023. “ABS recognizes the potential that hydrogen shows in supporting a sustainable, lower-carbon future,” said Patrick Ryan, senior vice president for global engineering and technology at ABS. “Safe and efficient storage and transportation of hydrogen at sea will be critical to the development and viability of the global hydrogen value chain. We have been working closely with Provaris, initially granting AIP [approval in principle] in 2021 and subsequently reviewing their comprehensive FEED level package for the H2Neo. ABS is pleased to award Provaris approval of their design, and we look forward to continuing this relationship into continued testing and construction stages of H2Neo carriers, including a yard selection process, and to support Provaris during ship operations on the numerous, interesting projects on the H2 horizon.”

Speaking of Hydrogen…
Plans to construct an underwater hydrogen pipeline between Spain and France will cost $2.6 billion, according to a recent Reuters report. The pipeline, which is estimated to take a decade to complete, will transport 2 tonnes a year of green hydrogen. Green hydrogen is hydrogen created using energy from renewable sources. The recent war in Ukraine accelerated existing plans to turn toward more renewable energy sources as an alternative to Russian gas. “Hydrogen is a game changer for Europe,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “We want to make hydrogen a central part of our energy system in the transition to climate neutrality.” Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the Iberian peninsula’s abundance of sunshine and wind used for renewable energy would make producing the hydrogen competitive.

New Wind Projects To Hit the US
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has announced the availability of two draft Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for offshore wind projects for public review and comment. The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project and the Sunrise Wind project could provide more than 4,000 MW of offshore wind energy capacity. Both projects help the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030. The public is encouraged to provide input during three virtual public meetings, which will be held for each project. The draft EISs for the CVOW and Sunrise projects and opportunities to comment can be found here and here, respectively.

New Partnership Helps Hit EV Goals
The US Energy Department announced they have finalized a deal between General Motors Co. and LG Energy Solution. The newly formed partners will work together using $2.5 billion loaned by the US Energy Department, to build three new lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities. The new facilities, which will be constructed in Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan, will provide 6,000 construction jobs, and 5,100 operations jobs. This deal aids in the expansion of electric vehicles (EVs) and will help hit a goal created by President Biden for 50% of US auto production to be composed of electric or plug-in electric hybrid vehicles by 2030.

Croatia’s Sets Its Sights on Solar Energy Sources
A port town on Croatia’s Adriatic coast, Makarska, is planning to turn to solar energy as a solution to its rising electricity costs. The increase in costs have led to many hotels along the coast suffering as they attempt to recoup losses from the 2020 season. As it stands, Croatia imports 40% of its electricity.

With the push toward solar energy sources, the town hopes to produce around 60% of its electric energy from renewable sources. Makarska, which receives an estimated 1 million visitors annually, has announced several plans to move forward with its solar energy goals by 2023. Makarska’s mayor, Zoran Paunovic, said he plans to install a solar power plant at its sports center and plans more such farms that would heat hotels, schools, and public institutions. He also encouraged citizens to apply for subsidies after the government had cut a 25% value added tax on the import of solar panels.

“We are kicking off this plan now to make Makarska energy independent by 2030, to produce our own energy,” Paunovic said. “The electricity prices have risen, and we have to look for alternative.”

While Germany Soars Toward Its Renewable Energy Goals
Germany recently announced renewable energy accounted for 46.9% of its power consumption in 2022. Greater sunshine intensity and wind power were the leading causes for the increase, which had previously been 42% in 2021. Germany’s renewable energy target is 80% by 2030.

And Italy Focuses on Capturing CO2
A partnership between Eni and gas grid operator Snam was announced this month. The newly formed partnership will work together to develop Italy’s first project to capture and store industrial CO2 emissions. The process will begin with the capture of 25,000 tons of CO2 emitted from Eni’s natural gas treatment plant in Casalborsetti.

“Today, it is necessary to join forces in order to reconcile decarbonization goals, energy security, and competitiveness,” said Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi. “This agreement represents an example of excellence, leveraging industrial synergies to contribute to the decarbonization of Italy’s production system.”