ExxonMobil’s Latest Houston Investment to Create Blue Hydrogen for Petrochemical Plant

Tue, March 22, 2022

Texas’ oil and gas industry continues to lead the United States and the world in energy innovation. ExxonMobil recently announced it will construct a hydrogen production plant with carbon capture and storage to reduce emissions (CCS) at its Baytown Refining and Petrochemical Complex near Houston. The plant will utilize natural gas to produce hydrogen with CCS, enabling the complex to reduce its scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by up to 30 percent.

Once up and running, the facility will produce up to 1 billion cubic feet of low-carbon hydrogen. The associated CCS project could permanently store up to 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. These numbers represent a significant investment for ExxonMobil/the company, which currently produces about 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of hydrogen and has the capacity to capture about 9 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Hydrogen production, like Texans for Natural Gas recently wrote about, typically uses a process known as steam methane reforming to separate natural gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Blue hydrogen is a term used when this process includes carbon capture and storage to safely and permanently sequester the CO2 deep underground. Hydrogen, a low-carbon energy source, is capable of decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors like long-haul trucking or steel production and in this case, chemical processes.

These chemical processes create the building block materials used in a wide range of consumer products that you use every day, like shrink and stretch film to bundle water bottles and heavy-duty sacks that hold food. By using hydrogen to fuel some of its industrial processes at Baytown, ExxonMobil will help produce everyday household items with a lower carbon footprint, while lowering its own Scope 1 and 2 emissions. A win for ExxonMobil, Texas, consumers, and the environment.

“Hydrogen has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in vital sectors of the economy and create valuable, lower-emissions products that support modern life,” said Joe Blommaert, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions.

This new investment in the Baytown Complex represents part of ExxonMobil’s $15 billion commitment to lower-emission initiatives over the next six years. It is also ExxonMobil’s initial contribution to the broader cross-industry CCS concept in the Houston area.

Fourteen companies now support this concept, which hopes to capture up to 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2040, helping various industries reduce emissions while creating valuable products.

ExxonMobil’s investment could act as a catalyst for additional projects in the region that could help power economic growth with a lower-emission footprint.