Oil companies take equity stake in Carbon Engineering

Occidental Petroleum, Chevron join Bill Gates as equity investors in direct air carbon capture project

Two oil and gas companies are taking an equity stake in Carbon Engineering, the B.C. company that developed a direct-air carbon capture pilot plant in Squamish.

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp., and Chevron Technology Ventures have both taken an equity stake in the project, the company announced Wednesday, Jan. 9.

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Although the company isn’t saying how much the investments are worth, Carbon Engineering CEO Steve Oldham said the company hopes to have raised $60 million in equity investments by the end of this year’s first quarter.

“They’re making good-sized investments, but they’re not controlling investments,” Oldham said.

Other investors in Carbon Engineering include Microsoft Corp.  founder Bill Gates and Murray Edwards, executive chairman of Canadian oilsands company Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

Carbon Engineering’s plan is to use the equity raises to ramp up its operations in Squamish. Oldham also said that new licensing agreements to build commercial-scale direct air carbon capture plants are expected to be signed this year.

“We will be significantly enhancing the facility we have in Squamish,” Oldham said. “We’ll be expanding that, making it larger, making it a continuously operating facility. The second thing is we’ll be starting the design of commercial plants. Those commercial plants will either be producing fuel, or they’ll be producing CO2 for sequestration.”

Carbon Engineering’s technology takes CO2 out of the atmosphere, where it can then either be sequestered or turned into a carbon-neutral fuel. The company believes there may be a market for carbon neutral fuel in the aviation sector.

In the last year, Carbon engineering has doubled its headcount to 50 employees.

“We’ll be expanding further with this investment, so the company will continue to grow and will continue to be based in B.C.,” Oldham said.

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