-System has already prevented more than 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere since beginning operations-
April 17, 2017 – Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Governor of Texas Greg Abbott joined the chief executive officers of the Petra Nova carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery system partners – NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation (JX Nippon), and Hilcorp Energy Company (Hilcorp) - to celebrate the operations of the carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery system.
Petra Nova, a 50-50 joint venture by NRG and JX Nippon, is the world’s largest carbon capture system retrofitted onto an existing coal plant. It was constructed on-time and on-budget and commenced operations at the end of 2016. The project has delivered more than 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the West Ranch oil field. The CO2 is injected into the oil reservoir to increase oil production in an established process known as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).
“I commend all those who contributed to this major achievement,” said Secretary Perry. “While the Petra Nova project will certainly benefit Texas, it also demonstrates that clean coal technologies can have a meaningful and positive impact on the Nation’s energy security and economic growth.”
“Everything is bigger in Texas so it is fitting that the largest post-combustion, carbon-capture facility in the world is right here in the Lone Star State,” said Governor Abbott. “Texas has become a global leader in innovation thanks to the pioneering spirits of companies like NRG and JX Nippon who are fueling the next generation of energy production through projects like Petra Nova.”
“Petra Nova demonstrates our leadership on energy innovation at commercial-scale,” said Mauricio Gutierrez, President and CEO of NRG Energy. “We have built the largest carbon capture system on an existing coal-fired power plant in the United States on-time and on-budget. This further shows what can be achieved when collaboration and competitive markets come together to make our existing domestic energy infrastructure more secure and sustainable.”
“JX Nippon is very pleased that the construction of Petra Nova’s Carbon Capture System (CCS) was completed on-schedule and on-budget,” said Shunsaku Miyake, President and CEO of JX Nippon. “Also JX Nippon is delighted to say that shipping of oil produced through enhanced oil recovery by means of CO2 injection, is currently proceeding smoothly. This project enables us not only to decrease greenhouse gas from the coal-fired power plant, but also, at the same time to dramatically boost oil production. It is a great honor for us, as a Japanese company, to participate in this innovative project in Texas and we are grateful to Petra Nova Team for this incredible opportunity.”
“We are excited to be a part of this project,” said Jeffery D. Hildebrand, Chairman and CEO, Hilcorp Energy Company. “The CO2 delivered from Petra Nova to West Ranch will provide employment and long term economic opportunity for both the local economy and the State of Texas. We are proud of the fact that West Ranch has one of the most extensive monitoring programs for an enhanced oil recovery project in the United States, making sure that this project not only provides greater energy security for our nation and an economic benefit to the region but also is done in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”
Petra Nova captures more than 90% of CO2 from a 240 MW equivalent slipstream of flue gas off an existing coal-fueled electrical generating unit at the WA Parish power plant in Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston. The project can capture more than 5,000 tons of CO2 per day, or the equivalent of taking more than 350,000 cars off the road.
Hilcorp, the operator of West Ranch oilfield, uses the captured CO2 to boost production at West Ranch oilfield, jointly owned by NRG, JX Nippon and Hilcorp. Both Hilcorp and the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology are monitoring the movement of CO2 deep in the oil reservoir. Over the next few years, oil production at the field is currently estimated to increase from approximately 300 barrels per day before beginning EOR operations to up to 15,000 barrels per day using captured CO2.
NRG is the leading integrated power company in the U.S., built on the strength of the nation’s largest and most diverse competitive electric generation portfolio and leading retail electricity platform. A Fortune 200 company, NRG creates value through best in class operations, reliable and efficient electric generation, and a retail platform serving residential and commercial businesses. Working with electricity customers, large and small, we continually innovate, embrace and implement sustainable solutions for producing and managing energy. We aim to be pioneers in developing smarter energy choices and delivering exceptional service as our retail electricity providers serve almost 3 million residential and commercial customers throughout the country. More information is available at www.nrg.com. Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.
JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation is a core business company in the JXTG Group, which was established in April 2017 through a business integration of the JX Group and the TonenGeneral Group. The JXTG Group is the leading “integrated energy, resources and materials business group” in Japan. JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation engages in oil and natural gas exploration and production (E&P) business around the world. In the U.S., JX Nippon owns assets in the Gulf of Mexico, ranging from the continental shelf to deep water area. In addition, JX Nippon participates in the Syncrude Project in Canada, which produces synthetic crude oil from oil sand, and manages the project at Houston office. More information is available at www.nex.jx-group.co.jp/english.
Hilcorp, founded in 1989, is one of the largest privately-held independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the United States. Hilcorp is consistently ranked as one of the top places to work in America by multiple regional and national publications. Headquartered in Houston, TX, with over 1,500 employees, Hilcorp has operations across the United States including the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, Wyoming, Northeast U.S. and both the Cook Inlet and North Slope of Alaska. More information is available at www.hilcorp.com.
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Headline crude prices for the week beginning 11 February 2019 – Brent: US$61/b; WTI: US$52/b
Headlines of the week
Midstream & Downstream
Global liquid fuels
Electricity, coal, renewables, and emissions
2018 was a year that started with crude prices at US$62/b and ended at US$46/b. In between those two points, prices had gently risen up to peak of US$80/b as the oil world worried about the impact of new American sanctions on Iran in September before crashing down in the last two months on a rising tide of American production. What did that mean for the financial health of the industry over the last quarter and last year?
Nothing negative, it appears. With the last of the financial results from supermajors released, the world’s largest oil firms reported strong profits for Q418 and blockbuster profits for the full year 2018. Despite the blip in prices, the efforts of the supermajors – along with the rest of the industry – to keep costs in check after being burnt by the 2015 crash has paid off.
ExxonMobil, for example, may have missed analyst expectations for 4Q18 revenue at US$71.9 billion, but reported a better-than-expected net profit of US$6 billion. The latter was down 28% y-o-y, but the Q417 figure included a one-off benefit related to then-implemented US tax reform. Full year net profit was even better – up 5.7% to US$20.8 billion as upstream production rose to 4.01 mmboe/d – allowing ExxonMobil to come close to reclaiming its title of the world’s most profitable oil company.
But for now, that title is still held by Shell, which managed to eclipse ExxonMobil with full year net profits of US$21.4 billion. That’s the best annual results for the Anglo-Dutch firm since 2014; product of the deep and painful cost-cutting measures implemented after. Shell’s gamble in purchasing the BG Group for US$53 billion – which sparked a spat of asset sales to pare down debt – has paid off, with contributions from LNG trading named as a strong contributor to financial performance. Shell’s upstream output for 2018 came in at 3.78 mmb/d and the company is also looking to follow in the footsteps of ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP in the Permian, where it admits its footprint is currently ‘a bit small’.
Shell’s fellow British firm BP also reported its highest profits since 2014, doubling its net profits for the full year 2018 on a 65% jump in 4Q18 profits. It completes a long recovery for the firm, which has struggled since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, allowing it to focus on the future – specifically US shale through the recent US$10.5 billion purchase of BHP’s Permian assets. Chevron, too, is focusing on onshore shale, as surging Permian output drove full year net profit up by 60.8% and 4Q18 net profit up by 19.9%. Chevron is also increasingly focusing on vertical integration again – to capture the full value of surging Texas crude by expanding its refining facilities in Texas, just as ExxonMobil is doing in Beaumont. French major Total’s figures may have been less impressive in percentage terms – but that it is coming from a higher 2017 base, when it outperformed its bigger supermajor cousins.
So, despite the year ending with crude prices in the doldrums, 2018 seems to be proof of Big Oil’s ability to better weather price downturns after years of discipline. Some of the control is loosening – major upstream investments have either been sanctioned or planned since 2018 – but there is still enough restraint left over to keep the oil industry in the black when trends turn sour.
Supermajor Net Profits for 4Q18 and 2018
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$6 billion (-28%);
- 2018 – Net profit US$20.8 (+5.7%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$5.69 billion (+32.3%);
- 2018 – Net profit US$21.4 billion (+36%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$3.73 billion (+19.9%);
- 2018 – Net profit US$14.8 billion (+60.8%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$3.48 billion (+65%);
- 2018 - Net profit US$12.7 billion (+105%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$3.88 billion (+16%);
- 2018 - Net profit US$13.6 billion (+28%)