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Exxon Bets $100M On Test To Clean CO2 From Natural Gas

exxonng.jpgExxon Mobil Corp. said it is building a commercial demonstration plant near LaBarge, Wyo., to test an improved natural gas treating technology that could offer several financial and environmental benefits. The effects of the “Controlled Freeze Zone” (CFZ) technology are threefold.

It could offer an affordable answer to the removal of carbon dioxide and other substances from natural gas; assist in the development of additional gas resources to meet the world’s growing demand for energy; and facilitate the application of carbon capture and storage, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, said Exxon Mobil Corp. Senior Vice President Mark Albers.

The more than $100 million experiment involves a process of freezing out and removing carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide from so-called “sour” gas. Natural gas is called “sour” if there are more than 5.7 milligrams of H2S per cubic meter of natural gas, which is equivalent to approximately 4 ppm by volume.

Once removed, the carbon dioxide could be used for enhanced oilfield recovery or injected into underground storage, which could reduce the cost of producing gas from sour gas fields, Exxon said.

Exxon will begin building the plant this summer, expects operations to start in late 2009, plans to test the plant, which will process about 14 million cubic feet of gas per day, for one to two years.

Exxon said it reduced its emissions by 8 million metric tons in 2006 as a result of energy efficiency improvements since 1999. However the company also said greenhouse gas emissions were 146 million metric tons, a 5.4-percent increase over the year before.

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