Oil Companies Are Eying Federal Climate Funds to Expand Hydrogen Production. Will Their Projects Cut Emissions?

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Inside Climate News, Nov. 6, 2022


ExxonMobil’s Baytown refinery and petrochemical complex is one of the largest industrial operations in the country, covering 3,400 acres or nearly 15 percent of the city of Baytown, just east of Houston. It is also one of the nation’s largest sources of greenhouse gas pollution, but Exxon says it has a plan to change that.


The proposal hinges on technology that would convert natural gas into hydrogen while capturing the carbon dioxide emissions released in the process. Exxon said the effort would make the Baytown site a major hydrogen producer while helping to lower the refinery’s emissions by “up to 30 percent.” It is part of a larger effort by the oil and gas industry to position itself for a shifting energy landscape.


Up and down the Gulf Coast, oil and chemical companies including BP, Chevron, Air Products and others have proposed a series of similar projects that would combine carbon capture technology with hydrogen production in an attempt to turn the fossil fuel-dependent region into a center for clean energy.


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