ExxonMobil planning hydrogen production, carbon capture and storage at Baytown complex; 1B cfd of blue hydrogen
ExxonMobil is planning a hydrogen production plant and one of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage projects at its integrated refining and petrochemical site at Baytown, Texas, supporting efforts to reduce emissions from company operations and local industry.
Founded in 1919, the Baytown Refinery began operation in 1920; the Chemical Plant started up in 1940. The Baytown Area operations are located on approximately 3,400 acres along the Houston Ship Channel and comprises four manufacturing sites, including one in nearby Mont Belvieu, and a global technology center. The Refinery has the capability to process up to 584,000 barrels of crude oil per day, making it the second-largest refinery in the US and one of the ten largest refineries globally.
The proposed hydrogen facility would produce up to 1 billion cubic feet per day of “blue” hydrogen—hydrogen produced from natural gas and supported by carbon capture and storage. The carbon capture infrastructure for this project would have the capacity to transport and store up to 10 million metric tons of CO2 per year, more than doubling ExxonMobil’s current capacity.
Using hydrogen as a fuel at the Baytown olefins plant could reduce the integrated complex’s Scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions by up to 30%, supporting ExxonMobil’s ambition to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from its operated assets by 2050.
The Baytown Olefins Plant, which began operations in 1979, is one of the largest ethylene plants in the world. In 2018, ExxonMobil completed the construction of a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker at the olefins plant, which has a capacity of 1.5 million tons per year.
Using hydrogen also would enable the site to manufacture lower-emissions products for its customers. Access to surplus hydrogen and CO2 storage capacity would be made available to nearby industry.
The project would form ExxonMobil’s initial contribution to a broad, cross-industry effort to establish a Houston carbon capture and storage hub with an initial target of about 50 million metric tons of CO2 per year by 2030, and 100 million metric tons by 2040. Evaluation and planning for the Baytown project are ongoing and, subject to stakeholder support, regulatory permitting and market conditions, a final investment decision is expected in two to three years.
ExxonMobil has extensive experience with hydrogen and already produces about 1.5 billion cubic feet per day. The company is uniquely positioned to participate in the growing hydrogen market and is evaluating strategic investments to increase the use of this important lower-emissions energy technology.
Equally important is the company’s more than 30 years of experience capturing and permanently storing CO2. ExxonMobil says that it has cumulatively captured more human-made CO2 than any other company and has an equity share of about one-fifth of the world’s carbon capture and storage capacity, which amounts to about 9 million metric tons per year.
ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions business was established to commercialize low-emission technologies and is focusing on carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and biofuels—technologies where the company can leverage its core competencies and competitive advantages. Over the next six years, the company plans to invest more than $15 billion on lower-emission initiatives and could increase investments with advancements in policy and technology.