Pore Space Dealmaking Picks Up Momentum

Dealmaking has picked up steam, especially by Oxy. Many of the announced deals by Oxy and others are in Texas and in the Gulf Coast region.

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Since my column in the September 2022 JPT about the regulation of ownership and leasing of pore space, dealmaking has picked up steam, especially by Oxy. Many of the announced deals by Oxy and others are in Texas and in the Gulf Coast region.

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures (OLCV) signed an agreement in October with Natural Resource Partners LP for the evaluation of a potential CO2 sequestration hub in Texas. OLCV, a subsidiary of Occidental, would gain rights to about 65,000 acres of pore space for its development, with the potential to store a minimum of 500 million metric tons of CO2.

The proposed site is in proximity to industrial greenhouse-gas emitters and a prime location for Oxy’s 1PointFive’s plans to build a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) hub , possibly connected to direct air capture (DAC) facilities.

Also, in October, Occidental and 1PointFive signed a lease agreement with King Ranch, a privately held agricultural production and resource management company, to support large‑scale DAC projects on 106,000 acres in Kleberg County, Texas, with the potential to remove up to 30 million metric tons of CO2 per year. The pores space is estimated to store up to 3 billion metric tons of CO2.

In addition to DAC emissions capture, the King Ranch acreage is located near industrial emitters in the Gulf Coast region, including Corpus Christi, where emissions can be captured, transported, and sequestered in the pore space. Each DAC plant in the site is expected to be capable of removing up to 1 million metric tons of CO2 per year, yielding a total capacity of up to 30 million metric tons per year when all facilities are operational.

Carbon Engineering (CE) began front-end planning and engineering for the DAC facilities in Kleberg County in October. The first 1-megatonne facility is intended to be replicated into multimillion-tonne deployments. The design is being adapted from the first large-scale, commercial facility to use CE’s DAC technology, which is already under construction in the Texas Permian Basin and is expected to start up in 2024.

Founded in the 1853, the 825,000-acre King Ranch holds an iconic legacy in Texas. Now, 170 years later, it may build upon that legacy with technological advances not foreseen in its earlier years.

In another Oxy deal in 2022, this one with Weyerhaeuser Co., more than 30,000 acres of pore space will be evaluated and potentially developed for CCS in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. Weyerhaeuser will continue to manage the aboveground acreage as a working forest.

Also in Louisiana, Lapis Energy, a CCS developer and operator based in Dallas, completed the lease of over 14,000 acres of carbon pore space rights with a private landowner 20 miles west of New Orleans. Lapis believes the pore space in the area has the potential to store more than 500 million tonnes of industrial CO2 and has begun technical studies to progress a Class VI permit for the area. Lapis plans to be ready to begin injection by 2025.

San Antonio-based Ozona CCS LLC has reached a definitive agreement in January with Texas Pacific Land Corp. to lease approximately 5,173 contiguous acres of land to drill one of the first commercial CO2 sequestration wells in the Permian Basin.

The company will initially focus on the Permian Basin and the Texas Gulf Coast for CCS projects. Initial anchor customers will include natural gas processing plants and oil and gas operators in the region.

The acreage has an estimated initial injection rate of up to 25,000 B/D and an estimated total storage capacity of at least 40 million metric tons of CO2. The target in-service date is in the third quarter of 2024.

Rystad Energy’s Audun Martinsen, head of supply chain research, forecast a rise in low-carbon investments by $60 billion in 2023, 10% higher than 2022. Hydrogen and CCUS are expected to see the most significant annual increase, growing 149% and 136%, respectively. Total hydrogen spending will approach $7.8 billion in 2023, while CCUS investments will total about $7.4 billion. She wrote, “The new and relatively tiny market of suppliers exposed to low-carbon, well-related services is forecast to climb 33% this year, driven by geothermal drilling and CO2 injection. Despite the significant increase, investments in this market will only total about $3.7 billion.”