Oct 27, 2017

Global oil companies invest in low-emission technologies

Amy Harder, author of Generate

An oil refinery in Texas. Photo: David Goldman / AP

A group of global oil and gas companies is announcing a trio of investments in low-carbon technologies at a meeting today in London.

Why it matters: Friday's announcement marks some of the more concrete ways oil and natural gas companies are investing in technologies that could accelerate the transition away from traditional oil, natural gas and coal production.

Behind the push: The group making the announcement is the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative, a group launched in 2014 of about 10 global oil and gas companies, including Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's state-owned company, BP and Royal Dutch Shell. No U.S.-based companies are in the group.

Gritty details: According to a press release by the group, the three investments the group made are in...

  1. A U.S.-based company called Solidia Technologies that has a patented technology that produces cement in a way that generates fewer emissions.
  2. Achates Power, another U.S.-based firm that is developing more efficient vehicle engines. According to a company press release, the group has invested about $30 million into the firm.
  3. An unnamed project that aims to design a natural-gas power plant equipped with technology that captures and stores carbon instead of emitting it.

Yes, but: The investment announcements, according to materials viewed by Axios Thursday night, did not include specific dollar amounts. Last November, the group launched a "billion-dollar investment vehicle," indicating these individual investments are well below that number, which is itself not a big number in the grand scheme of oil-industry investments.

Be smart: Many of the lower-carbon investments made by oil and gas companies are real, let's be clear, but they're also a drop in the bucket compared to the investments made in their traditional fossil-fuel products.

For the record:

Requests for additional information and comment from oil companies involved and leading the effort, including BP and Italy-based Eni, were not returned Thursday.

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