Milestone Carbon will survey Permian lands for a carbon capture project

Milestone Carbon is the latest Houston-based company interested in a carbon capture and storage project in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico, Milestone announced this week.

The environmental services company will survey some of the Permian land owned by the state-owned Texas Pacific Land Corporation and assess its ability to store captured carbon, the companies said.

The Permian Basin is considered one of the most prolific oilfields in the country, producing nearly half of the country’s 12 million barrels of oil per day in 2021, according to the Energy Department.

Carbon capture and storage involves capturing emissions, often at the source of the pollution, and routing the carbon to underground storage – or, in some cases, reusing the carbon or selling it. The federal government has also said it will spend billions in the coming years to develop the technology.

RELATED: BP plans a project in the Houston area that could capture up to 15 million metric tons of carbon per year

“CCS (carbon capture and storage) is a proven technology that can provide concrete ways to achieve a low carbon future,” said Gabriel Rio, CEO of Milestone Carbon. “Milestone Carbon was created to develop, own and operate environmental infrastructure that will enable industry to significantly decarbonize. Such infrastructure will be crucial in the fight against climate change and will support the industries that provide the energy and materials on which our economy depends.

Milestone will survey 21,000 acres of Texas Pacific’s property in the Permian and help expand the operation if the land is deemed ready for carbon storage.

Texas Pacific Land Corporation is one of the largest landowners in the state with more than 880,000 acres, according to the company. It generates revenue from oil and gas royalties, as well as land sales and things like grazing permits.

Earlier this year, Occidental Petroleum of Houston announced plans to build a billion-dollar facility in the Permian Basin that could potentially remove 500,000 tons of carbon directly from the air.

Environmental advocates remain skeptical of carbon capture projects as a leading solution to mitigating the worsening effects of climate change. Many agree that some sort of carbon capture will be needed to reduce emissions in hard-to-decarbonise sectors like manufacturing, but campaigners worry that companies – especially those in the oil and gas industry – are leaning too heavily on technology instead of rapidly moving towards renewable energy sources.

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