Aug 19, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Occidental Petroleum teams with private equity firm to deploy carbon capture tech in U.S.

An illustration of a carbon sucking plant

Image courtesy of Carbon Engineering

Occidental Petroleum has teamed up with Rusheen Capital Management to advance plans by Canada-based Carbon Engineering to build a direct air capture plant in the Permian Basin — and eventually facilities elsewhere, too.

Why it matters: It's a step toward building a plant that the companies say would be the world's largest direct air capture (DAC) facility, with the capacity to remove up to 1 million metric tons of atmospheric CO2 annually.

  • Occidental subsidiary Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Rusheen, a private equity firm, have formed a company called 1PointFive to "finance and deploy" Carbon Engineering's technology in the U.S.
  • More broadly, the new licensing deal with 1PointFive and Carbon Engineering for the Permian plant in Texas is the "first step toward their aspiration to deliver this technology on an industrial scale throughout the United States," they said.

Catch up fast: Oxy and Carbon Engineering first proposed the Permian Basin facility last year.

  • Occidental, a large oil producer that uses injected CO2 to boost output, and Rusheen are existing investors in Carbon Engineering, which has also received funding from Bill Gates, Chevron and others.

Where it stands: DAC is among the nascent negative emissions technologies attracting more attention as a way to help avoid runaway global warming. But that's if — if! — it can eventually be deployed at a major scale (1 million tons annually is a drop in the bucket).

The big picture: A UN-led scientific report in late 2018 concluded that plausible pathways for holding temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels require atmospheric CO2 removal methods in addition to steep emissions cuts.

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