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Corpus Christi carbon storage hub awarded to Repsol-led team

The partnership, comprised of Repsol as the operator, Carbonvert, Mitsui E&P USA, and POSCO, was awarded 140,000 acres of pore space located offshore.

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) awarded a Repsol-led partnership a contract for over 140,000 gross acres of pore space owned by of the Permanent School Fund (PSF) for CO2 storage located offshore of Corpus Christi, Texas.

The partnership, comprised of Repsol as the operator, Carbonvert (Carbonvert Inc.), MEPUSA (Mitsui E&P USA), and POSCO (POSCO International) bring together their collective experience across oil and gas, carbon capture and storage (CCS), industrial, and renewable projects in the United States and globally, according to a news release.

The project will be located in proximity to over 35 million metric tons per year of existing industrial emissions within 100 miles of the storage sites and more than 20 million metric tons per year of anticipated greenfield project emissions expected by 2035 to create a globally competitive carbon storage hub that can provide significant economic and environmental benefits to local communities, the Port of Corpus Christi, the State of Texas, and society at large. Equity interests in the partnership will be 40% Repsol (Operator), 40% Carbonvert, 10% MEPUSA and 10% POSCO.

On August 22nd, the Texas School Land Board unanimously approved awarding leases of the Port Arkansas North and Mustang Island tracts to the partnership, subject to the execution of final leases, which made the partnership the sole awardee in the region. Both tracts lie within Repsol’s licensed seismic database and based on the favorable subsurface geology of the area, Repsol expects the tracts to have a combined storage capacity of more than 600 million metric tons of CO2.

David Ramos, Geological Low Carbon Solutions Director for Repsol said: “Repsol is excited to lead and operate this project that will ultimately add to our strong presence in the country through our O&G operations and Low Carbon projects. Corpus Christi is a strategic region for Repsol pursuing Low Carbon developments where the Port of Corpus Christi plays an essential role for the industry. This project will provide significant contributions internationally as well to help grow our global low carbon portfolio.”

The consortium will now enter a negotiation stage with the Texas GLO based on terms the partnership submitted along with the original request by the GLO. Final terms are subject to approval of the Texas School Land Board.

Carbonvert CEO Alex Tiller sees this project as a boost for South Texas’ regional economy, “instilling confidence in local industries to launch CO2 capture initiatives and enhance resilience amid carbon-related global trade requirements and customers’ increasing demand for low-carbon products. It also attracts local investments from sectors like blue hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel refining.” Tiller went on to point out that, “our project’s CO2 storage lease and operations will generate tremendous new revenues for the Permanent School Fund over the next 30 years for the Texas public school system–a win for the whole state.”

Kazuhiko Gomi, President & CEO of MEPUSA said: ”Mitsui sees the Corpus Christi region as an emerging hub for low carbon solutions and energy transition. Mitsui is excited to expand its CCS portfolio in the US to contribute to local industrial emissions reductions for Creating Sustainable Futures.”

Jhoon Soo Jho, Head of E&P Business Division for POSCO International: “I am pleased that through this project, we are taking the first step towards a successful business with trusted partners. This CCS project will make a significant contribution to achieve global carbon reduction and a sustainable society, making it a very meaningful endeavor. With this project as a catalyst, POSCO International will accelerate the expansion of its eco-friendly portfolio and continue to discover businesses that are in compliance with our corporate citizenship initiative for both the global and local communities.”

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Fusion Fuel US leaders to step down

Portugal-based Fusion Fuel’s US co-presidents are stepping down to pursue other opportunities in the hydrogen and clean fuels sector.

Zachary Steele and Jason Baran have decided to leave Fusion Fuel and will be stepping down from their roles of Co-Head and Chief Commercial Officer, respectively, as well as Co-Presidents of the Americas, to pursue other opportunities in the hydrogen and clean fuels sector.

The moves were announced as part of the company’s 1Q23 earnings release.

Steele said in an interview late last year that the company was working with RBC Capital Markets to develop projects in the US.

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ABB and Export Development Canada form investment partnership

The $2.9bn fund will focus on strategic investments in technologies and solutions with growth potential, such as green hydrogen, sustainable transport solutions or electrification.

ABB and Export Development Canada (EDC), Canada’s export credit agency, have signed a global partnership to promote investments in sustainable technologies and projects in Canada and around the world.

The support provided by EDC, with a total limit of up to $2.9bn, will provide ABB’s customers with financing and insurance solutions to strategic electrification and automation projects in the sectors of clean technologies, advanced manufacturing, digital technologies, and resources of the future, according to a news release. Commercial financing will be provided on a project-by-project basis and the partnership will initially run for three years.

ABB CFO Timo Ihamuotila said: “I am very pleased about our partnership with EDC and their trust in ABB as a global technology leader in electrification and automation. This partnership enhances our value proposition to customers and is fully in line with our purpose to enable a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. It will offer our customers and us the opportunity to further invest in sustainable technologies and – in doing so – to contribute actively to reaching decarbonization goals in various industries.”

The partnership aims to foster investments globally and locally in Canada both through ABB’s customer projects and within the company’s own operations. EDC will finance and provide insurance to customer projects across the ABB portfolio, from electrification, motion, process automation to robotics and discrete automation.

“EDC is committed to supporting large multinational companies, like ABB, that have strong anchors in Canada and are focused on building an innovative, equitable and sustainable economy,” said Sven List, Senior Vice President, Corporate and International Group, EDC. “Extensive capital is required to transition to more sustainable practices and develop greener products and services. Together we will play an important role in developing Canada’s contribution to global sustainability and address pressing issues like climate change.”

A specific focus will be on strategic investments in technologies and solutions with growth potential, such as green hydrogen production, sustainable transport solutions or the electrification of today’s fossil-based activities to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Collaboration with innovative Canadian start-ups is also an essential topic under the umbrella of the partnership with EDC.

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Mitsubishi Corp. planning $1bn fund for decarbonization startups

The Japan-based fund will invest primarily in European and US startups.

Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp., together with MUFG bank and others, will launch a $1bn decarbonization fund, Nikkei reported today.

The fund will invest a total of $1bn in startup companies with promising technologies in areas such as floating offshore wind turbines and sustainable aviation fuel, according to the report.

The fund will invest in European and US startups.

Mitsubishi will invest several hundred million dollars in the fund, called Marunouchi Climate Tech Growth Fund, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and other investors will be invited to take part as well. MUFG and Pavilion Private Equity will also invest in the fund.

The size of fund will grow to $1 billion by April 2024, with individual investments ranging between $20m and $100m, the report says.

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Exclusive: Additional details revealed on e-fuels equity raise

A US e-fuels developer is in the midst of a Series C raise with BofA Securities advising.

E-fuels developer Infinium is raising $300m in a Series C capital raise that launched last year, according to a source familiar with the matter.

BofA Securities has been engaged to advise on the process, as previously reported by ReSource. The amount of the capital raise was not previously reported.

Infinium and BofA did not respond to requests for comment. 

Infinium recently announced the existence of Project Roadrunner, located in West Texas, which will convert an existing brownfield gas-to-liquids project into an e-fuels facility delivering products to both US and international markets. Breakthrough Energy Catalyst has contributed $75m in project equity.

Infinium, which launched in 2020, closed a $69m Series B in 2021, with Amazon, NextEra and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries participating. Its Project Pathfinder in Corpus Christi is fully capitalized.

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A CO2 feedstock agreement for a US Midwest project with BlackRock-backed Navigator CO2 Ventures was recently scrapped after the latter developer cancelled its CO2 pipeline project.

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Exclusive: Emissions reduction technology firm in Series A capital raise

A technology start-up that uses plasma to reduce emissions from natural gas and methane flaring is seeking an additional $15m to top off its Series A capital raise. One of its principal products converts natural gas into hydrogen and usable graphene with no CO2 emissions.

Rimere, a climate solutions company with proprietary plasma technology, is seeking to raise an additional $15m as part of its ongoing Series A capital raise.

The start-up recently announced an anchor investment of $10m from Clean Energy Fuels Corp, a publicly listed renewable natural gas firm, and is pursuing further investments from strategics and financial players, with an eye on closing the round in 2Q24, CEO Mitchell Pratt said in an interview.

The company is not currently working with a financial advisor on the Series A capital raise, Pratt said. Its legal counsel is Morrison Foerster.

The anchor investment along with additional funds raised will allow Rimere to advance development and field testing of its two principal products, the Reformer and the Mitigator. 

The Mitigator is a plasma thermal oxidizer that reduces the greenhouse gas potency of small-scale fugitive methane emissions, while the Reformer transforms natural gas into clean hydrogen and usable graphene without creating any CO2 emissions.

The products are meant to work in tandem to decarbonize natural gas infrastructure and deliver cleaner gas to end users in transportation, power generation, and industry.

“We believe that, overall, what the technology does is revalue natural gas reserves and the long-term viability of natural gas for global future energy,” Pratt said.

Commercial strategy

Rimere will develop a commercial strategy throughout the course of this year for the Mitigator, and plans to deploy the product in the beginning of next year.

“We have quite a bit of interest for this as a solution because of the low cost of the product and the terrific results,” Pratt said, noting that the Mitigator removes CO2 for under $5 per metric ton.

In contrast, the Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022 introduced the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, a charge on methane emitted by oil and gas companies that report emissions under the Clean Air Act. The charge starts at $900 per metric ton of methane for calendar year 2024, increasing to $1,500 for 2026 and beyond.

To be sure, the Mitigator, as a thermal oxidizer, transforms methane, which is a much more potent greenhouse gas, into hydrogen, water, and CO2 for a net reduction of the global warming impact of 200 metric tons a year of CO2.

The Reformer, a container-style unit, is being scaled up to produce 50 kg per day of hydrogen from natural gas along with 150 kg of graphene, a marketable nano carbon where the CO2 is captured. Graphene is used in batteries, composites, medical devices, and concrete to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other applications.

Rimere plans to increase the scale of the Reformer to between 400 – 600 kg per day and raise additional funds next year, Pratt said. The amount of funds needed for that is not yet known, he said.

Pratt envisions an application for hydrogen blending using the two products.

“We see it as a way to decentralize hydrogen production, taking advantage of a cleaner natural gas infrastructure, because we’ve applied the Mitigator to cleaning up those fugitive methane emissions that are occurring in the normal operations of equipment,” Pratt said.

For example, Rimere can tap into a natural gas pipeline, take a slipstream of gas, extract the valuable graphene, and then re-inject hydrogen and natural gas back into the pipeline.

Additionally, the blending application can be positioned at an end-use customer’s facility, allowing the Reformer to start blending hydrogen into the gas stream, going into boilers and burners and reducing the CO2 emissions more effectively and immediately, Pratt said.

$1 per kg

Taking the average cost of delivered natural gas and power to industrial users, the company can already produce hydrogen at $1 per kilogram, Pratt said.

For every four kilograms of end-use product – one being hydrogen, the other three graphene – the energy cost allows hydrogen to be produced at or below $1 per kg.

“The last 12 months of running is less than a dollar,” he said, emphasizing that the graphene production is not subsidizing the hydrogen.

“Although the value of graphene could make hydrogen a throwaway fuel.”

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Low-carbon crude refinery developer lining up project cap stack

The developer of a low-carbon crude refinery is in talks with banks and strategics to line up project financing for a $5.5bn project in Oklahoma.

Texas-based Southern Rock Energy Partners is holding discussions with banks and potential strategic investors with the aim of shaping a $5.5bn capital stack to build a low-carbon crude refinery in Cushing, Oklahoma.

The project, a first-of-its-kind 250,000 barrel-per-day crude refinery, would make it the first crude facility of that size built in the United States in several decades.

The company is evaluating a project finance route with a debt and equity structure for the project, and has held talks with several major investment banks as well as “industry-leading” strategics in midstream, industrial gas, and electricity generation, Southern Rock Managing Partner Steven Ward said in an interview.

In support of the refinery, the city of Cushing and the Cushing Economic Development Foundation approved $75m in tax-exempt private activity bonds, Ward noted. He added that the company could also tap industrial revenue bonds as well as PACE equity financing.

Seed capital for project development has so far come from strategic partners, some of which are operational partners, Ward said. He declined to comment further on the capital raise, noting that engagement letters have yet to be signed.

Engineering firm KBR is conducting a feasibility study for the Cushing project, and the company is moving through land acquisition, air permit preparation, and EPC selection, Ward said.

While most crude refineries consume natural gas, off-gasses, and ambient air, Southern Rock’s proposed refinery would use oxygen along with blue hydrogen produced from the refining off-gasses and green hydrogen from electrolysis. The process would eliminate 95% of greenhouse gas emissions at the proposed refinery.

“Our furnaces and our process heating units are fed 100% hydrogen and oxygen,” Ward said, noting that this type of system does not currently exist in the market. The company is expanding on technology it licenses from Great Southern Flameless, he said.

The size of the refinery would make it the largest to be built in the US since Marathon Petroleum built a 200,000 barrels-per-day facility in 1976.

Certain other low-carbon crude projects have been in the market for several years. Meridian Energy has been seeking to build cleaner crude refineries in North Dakota. Raven Petroleum ran up against environmental concerns while seeking to build a clean refinery in Texas. And MMEX is aiming to build an “ultra clean” crude refinery in West Texas.

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