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NRG Breaks Ground On World’s Largest Carbon Capture Facility

Project will use captured CO2 to recover oil from aging field.


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In Fort Bend County, NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas are breaking ground today on the world’s largest carbon capture facility. The project will trap greenhouse gases from a power plant before they can leak into the atmosphere, then use them to boost production in an aging oil field.

The coal-burning W.A. Parish plant is one of the nation’s biggest emitters of carbon dioxide. The companies say their new facility will capture 90 percent of the plant’s CO2 emissions. They’ll then pipe the CO2 more than 80 miles away to the West Ranch Field in Victoria. The gas will be pumped a mile underground at high pressure and used to free oil trapped in rock formations.

“Currently, from conventional operation, West Ranch is producing around 500 barrels of oil a day,” says Arun Banskota, CEO of Petra Nova, NRG’s wholly owned carbon-capture business. “Once we are able to get carbon dioxide into the West Ranch oil field, that field will produce something in the range of 15,000 barrels a day.”

The project marks the first time an existing coal-fired power plant is being refitted with coal-gas capture technology. Construction is expected to take about two years.

An illustration of how the new carbon capture facility will capture CO2 from the W.A. Parish power plant.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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