PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

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May 10, 2013

Local project cleaning air, boosting oil production

PORT ARTHUR — Air Product’s innovative technology to capture carbon dioxide was celebrated Friday during a special ceremony in Port Arthur.

Local, state and federal dignitaries gathered at Port Arthur’s Valero Refinery to laude the successful operation of the $400 million enhanced oil recovery project, funded with economic stimulus dollars.

“The Department of Energy describes this project as a “milestone,” Randy Weber, U.S. Representative from Texas’ District 14, said during the ceremony.

The carbon capture project, which has been online for a couple of months at the Port Arthur refinery, recovers and purifies the carbon dioxide. Once captured, the product is transported via pipeline owned by Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC for injection into the Denbury Onshore operated West Hastings, Unit, an enhanced oil recovery project in Texas, according to a press released issued by Air  Products.

This is the first-ever U.S. accomplishment of this kind,” said Jeff Byrne, Air Products vice president and General Manager of Tonnage Gases, said during the ceremony.

The project is expected to assist in the recovery of 1.6 -3 .1 million additional barrels of  domestic oil annually, the U.S. Department of Energy estimated.

Air Products designed, constructed and operates the state-of-the art system to capture carbon dioxide from its steam methane reformers located within the Valero Port Arthur Refinery.

Byrne said the Department of Energy was flooded with hundreds of applicants for funding for this type project.

The company initially received Phase 1 funding by the DOE in its Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage program.

“The DOE liked what they saw and funded Phase II,” Byrne said. “This project is a great source of pride to us.”

Chris Smith, acting assistant secretary of Fossil Energy, U.S. Dept. of Energy, praised the Air Product project for being brought in on budget, and on schedule.

“This project is a win-win,” Smith said. “We see this as a great success in an effort to move our country forward, to create jobs and make our nation less dependent on foreign oil,” Smith said.

DOE provided 66 percent of the project’s funding. In June 2010, Air Products was selected to receive $253 million in funding from DOE through the National Energy Technology Laboratory under the ICCS Program, which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The company subsequently received and additional $30 million from the DOE through stimulus dollars. It later received an additional $30 million from DOE through the ARRA for final engineering, design, construction and project operation through Sept. 2015.

Air Products’ project was the only industrial gas company led undertaking selected by DOE, and one of only three projects receiving additional funding toward a commercial demonstration project, according to the press statement.

To commemorate the project, Air Products donated six cypress trees to the City of Port Arthur. Two of the trees will be planted at the J.B. Matthews Center and the remaining four at Barker Park.

Email: skoonce@panews.com

Twitter: SkooncePANews

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