US oil major Exxon Mobil has put forward a $100 billion plan to capture carbon emissions from large industrial facilities in the Houston area and transport them to the Gulf of Mexico for storage up to 6,000 feet deep.
Exxon Mobil, which also makes industrial lubricants like hydraulic oil, believes it can make a profit from this market. The company already collects carbon and injects it into depleted oil fields to increase the pressure and improve production, but the new plan would see it charge other businesses to collect and dispose of their carbon emissions.
According to the New York Times, Darren Woods, Exxon Mobil’s CEO, said in an interview that the proposed plan would complement efforts by the current US administration to counter climate change, but it would need to take action to put a price on carbon emissions. Woods said this price was critical, as without it, companies would have no financial incentive to pay the oil major to capture and store their carbon emissions.
With suitable policies, Woods said that projects for carbon capture could represent a major global market, saying that:
“The potential for these markets is very, very large to the extent that demand continues to increase to decarbonize society.”
In Europe, where governments are generally more willing to spend public money to address climate change, the idea of setting carbon prices and storing captured carbon in depleted offshore oil and gas fields has already gained some support.