Occidental Petroleum Corp. Goes Green Transforming The Future Of Fossil Fuels

Oil industry considering the future of fuel Occidental Petroleum Corp. unveils a new plan for America’s biggest oilfield located in the Permian Basin with the goal of altering views...


Oil industry considering the future of fuel

Occidental Petroleum Corp. unveils a new plan for America’s biggest oilfield located in the Permian Basin with the goal of altering views of fossil-fuel emissions. Occidental will be implementing plans for the world’s first large-scale direct air capture (DAC) plant that will harness the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and pumping it underground to remain stored for millions of years.

The new DAC plant presents goals over lowering emissions of primary greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. The process for the DAC plant will reverse traditional methods for gas and oil companies with the goal of being able to produce a carbon-negative barrel of oil.

This promising plan comes with some setbacks through funding as the new facility is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars (possibly billions). Occidental will need support from outside investors and tax credits to be financially compatible along with additional funding through the use of CO2 to acquire lucrative oil from underground (replacing one pollutant with another).

The climate crisis is affecting the oil industry and causing trouble with environmentalists blaming the oil companies for polluting as well as spreading misinformation on the consequences. This pressure of the industry impact on climate change has more companies funding more renewable energy options, doubling down on the future of fossil fuels.

Occidental has addressed this concern to approach this project differently by transitioning into a “carbon management company” and has no hesitation in moving away from oil in the future. Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub disclosed, “We are not afraid of the transition out of oil and gas, because we’re a part of that transition. I do believe that in 15 to 20 years, more of our income will be from carbon management than from oil and gas.”

Climate scientists have considering this carbon capture method essential in meeting climate goals for the future but the transition is slow due to the high costs of adopting this process. Efforts for carbon capture is currently limited to siphoning off concentrated streams of CO2 from industrial facilities with carbon buried underground spanning over two dozen plants worldwide.

Occidental plans on aiming to operate the new plant by 2023 will take CO2 directly from the air allowing the facility to be built anywhere. Occidental estimates the plants will capture 1 million tons of carbon dioxide annually (the estimated equivalent to emissions of 215,000 cars).

Currently, it is estimated to cost $600 to capture each ton of CO2 with DAC methods that work by sifting air through chemicals to selectively extract CO2. Occidental claims that the technology will be cheaper to fund in the future as more DAC plants are built allowing engineers to assess the process to optimize complex projects to work more efficiently.

This new plant is one step towards Occidental’s plan on becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. Occidental serves as an example for the oil industry to consider the future of operations with climate change in mind and focusing more on sustainable renewable energy sources.

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