Perry hails Texas carbon capture project as benefiting energy and environment

The Trump administration remains committed to reducing greenhouse gases while promoting the energy industry, said Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday.

Perry joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at NRG Energy’s Petra Nova carbon capture plant in Fort Bend County, where the the two Texans heralded the plant’s official opening as a the dawn of a new energy era of innovation under President Donald Trump.

The plant, the world’s largest and the only one of its kind in the United States, started operating in late 2016. It captures carbon dioxide from a coal-fired power plant, runs it through a chemical process to extract carbon and sends it through a pipe 80 miles southwest to help with enhanced oil recovery, a process that injects carbon and water underground to force oil to the surface.

NRG has partnered with JX Nippon, a Japanese oil and gas company, and Houston-based Hilcorp Energy, which will use the carbon to help extract 60 million barrels of oil from the West Ranch oil field in Jackson County.

The system cost $1 billion to build, and its revenue is tied to selling the oil it helps recover–a plan that was conceived when oil prices hovered around $100 a barrel. While NRG has said it does expect to take on a project like this again, on Thursday energy executives and elected officials celebrated Petra Nova as a good example of cleaner production of fossil fuel energy.

The project epitomizes the goals of the Department of Energy, which will not pit environmental concerns against the economic needs of the energy industry, Perry said.

“We can and we will be stewards of both,” he said.