Amid carbon capture headwinds, BRAC announces ‘carbon reduction’ alliance

The Advocate

As local parishes have fought back against carbon capture projects, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber on Wednesday announced it has formed an alliance with a host of businesses, academic institutions and government agencies to push for low-carbon energy projects in the Capital Region, including but not limited to carbon capture.

BRAC officials said the alliance has been in the works since the second quarter of this year and first met in April. As part of the chamber’s five-year strategic plan, the alliance’s goal is to drive economic growth by continuing to lure clean energy investments that can help the region reduce emissions and wean off fossil fuels.

Business members of the alliance include BASF, Bernhard Capital Partners, CF Industries, Dow, Entergy, ExxonMobil, Methanex, Phillips 66 and Shell, among many others. Also involved are the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, Louisiana Economic Development and LSU.

BRAC officials noted that $20 billion worth of low carbon projects has been announced for the Baton Rouge area, led by Air Products’ $4.5 billion “blue” hydrogen plant in Ascension Parish. CF Industries is considering a $2 billion “blue” ammonia complex in Ascension as well. Industrial manufacturing processes are considered “blue” when carbon capture is used to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions on site.

Louisiana pumped out roughly 216 million metric tons of net greenhouse gas emissions in 2021, 66% of which came from the industrial sector.

“Recently, the region has gained significant momentum in clean, low-carbon energy and chemicals investments,” Russell Richardson, BRAC’s senior vice president of business development, said in a statement. “As our community and industry help tackle the challenges of providing low-carbon, sustainable products, and energy, BRAC and its partners are committed to building on the region’s existing industry base and community knowhow to position the Capital Region as a global leader in low-carbon solutions.”

The announcement comes at a time when Louisiana has morphed into a destination for carbon capture projects, to the delight of energy and industrial leaders and the chagrin of environmental groups and residents.

Carbon capture is a process by which industrial emitters of greenhouse gases trap carbon dioxide on site and then inject it deep underground. Supporters say it is one of the best tools available to transition the global economy away from fossil fuels, while critics deride it as a largely unproven technology that could have dire consequences if implemented at scale.

Just last week, Gov. John Bel Edwards trumpeted a $200 million carbon capture project from CF Industries, whose Donaldsonville ammonia complex is the state’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The project will transport up to 2 million tons of carbon dioxide from the Donaldsonville facility to a Vermilion Parish site owned by ExxonMobil.

However, the Livingston Parish Council in September voted to impose a one-year moratorium on carbon injection wells, citing fears over the technology’s safety. Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, plans to build a carbon sequestration facility in Livingston. The St. Helena Parish Police Jury followed suit about a month later. Residents in Tangipahoa Parish have raised similar concerns.

Scroll to Top