COLUMN: Beaumont a natural home for carbon capture, storage

Texas is once again leading an energy revolution. The home of Spindletop and fracking is seeing an acceleration of a transformative technology: carbon capture and storage. The process captures carbon emissions from industrial sources before they reach the atmosphere and safely stores them underground.

While Texas benefits from a massive growth in clean renewable energy, traditional energy sources like oil and gas will be required for the decades to come. A changing energy economy requires a new approach based on the tried-and-true Texas principles of free markets, innovation, and energy security.

CCS will help ensure our state remains a leader in energy production while reducing emissions with CCS and transitioning to a clean energy future — allowing Texas to continue supplying reliable and affordable energy to the world and complementing traditional energy development to operate in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

Beaumont is a natural base for CCS in our state. The Bayou Bend CCS project – a partnership between Chevron, Talos, and Carbonvert – will safely store carbon along 40,000 acres of state-owned submerged land near Jefferson County. The project recently announced the additional acquisition of nearly 100,000 acres onshore for storage in Chambers and Jefferson counties. Our neighbors in Houston are seeing similar collaboration with a dozen leading companies in this space forming the Houston CCS Alliance to deploy CCS technologies in the Houston Ship Channel. And down in Corpus Christi, similar efforts are going on at the port.

While the state has seen significant investment in CCS in recent years, the technology is far from new. This is a safe and proven technology that has been around for almost fifty years. The Department of Energy has spent $7 billion in research and development of this technology since 1997, and the International Energy Agency and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have declared the broad deployment of CCS essential, commending the pipeline of new CCS projects.

CCS continues to gain strong support among Texas voters. Our organization recently commissioned a survey that found 75% of residents are in favor of expanding CCS technology. The survey also found that two-thirds of conservative voters back the technology, even as they remain in favor of expanded fossil fuel production.

Here in Texas, we have a real opportunity to be a global leader in this space. We have the energy expertise, critical infrastructure, geologic storage capacity, and skilled workforce to advance CCS. Other states such as Louisiana have already emerged as leaders in the energy expansion. We must make sure that our elected leaders at the state and federal level recognize the need to promote pro-CCS policies.

The Legislature should continue the state’s low-regulation tradition to advance deployment by allowing private companies to innovate and clarifying pore space ownership. At the federal level, Texas should be given official primacy authority to oversee Class VI wells that are used for carbon sequestration.

The opportunity to be a global leader in a reimagined energy future is ours for the taking. To achieve this goal, we must embrace investment into CCS innovation. Substantial capital will be required to construct the necessary infrastructure, but the payoff will be felt globally. Our state and federal leaders should support CCS policies that will enable Texas to lead economically, grow sustainably and solidify our state as the international energy capital for generations to come.

Matt Welch is the State Director of Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation, a statewide education and advocacy non-profit organization that promotes free enterprise, increased competition, and less government regulation in our energy economy.


Sign Up for Updates