Work starts on world’s biggest DAC plant

Oxy stages Friday groundbreaking in far northwestern Ector County

NOTREES On a blustery, gusty, dusty day on a remote 65-acre site Friday morning in far northwestern Ector County, Occidental Petroleum Corp. President-CEO Vicki Hollub introduced her company’s plan for the world’s biggest direct air capture plant, called “Stratos,” saying 1,000 men will build the enormous facility and have it running by mid-2025.

With three huge screens behind her showing what the $1-billion plant about 15 miles southeast of the small town of Notrees will look like, radio, television, magazine and newspaper reporters from around Texas and the nation watched as Hollub was applauded by a crowd of 230 people that included an array of energy industry officials and area governmental and business leaders.

Hollub and seven other executives from the various companies involved moved in front of the stage and symbolically broke ground with silver shovels, after which the crowd moved outside the big tent that had been erected for the 11 a.m. event to hear the Odessa High School Drum Line play.

“We know that achieving world net zero by 2050 requires Oxy and others to reduce emissions with direct air capture,” said Hollub, whose corporation is based in Houston. “Ten years ago, we started looking at ways to improve the environment and we realized that we could capture CO2 and create low carbon products.

“We had the groundbreaking tools we needed to do something extraordinary and make a difference around the world.”

Hollub said the Carbon Engineering Corp. of Squamish, British Columbia, Canada, was a crucial partner along with the Worley Corp. of North Sydney, Australia, and Oxy’s 1PointFive subsidiary.

The plant 35 miles west of Odessa will capture up to 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually with the capability to scale up to one million metric tons per year that will be used either to produce low carbon products or be sequestered in underground saline formations, Hollub said, adding that 75 people will work there to produce hydrocarbons for low carbon or net-zero transportation fuels and products like chemicals and building materials.

She said 1PointFive plans to build 100 DAC facilities worldwide by 2035 to help meet the Paris Agreement’s climate goals.

Others who briefly addressed the crowd were Carbon Engineering Vice President and Head of Business Development Lori Guetre, Worley CEO Chris Ashton, 1PointFive President Michael Avery and Richard Jackson, president of Oxy’s U.S. Onshore Resources and Carbon Management Operations.

The executives all looked elated at reaching this point in the project and they were unperturbed that the wind outside was so strong at times it was shaking the middle screen behind them.

Oxy has reported that 1PointFive has advanced product sales including carbon removal credit purchases from Airbus, Shopify and ThermoFisher while Oxy has reached an agreement for SK Trading International to purchase net zero oil. Origis Energy will supply zero-emission solar power for the plant.