Projects Database

Petra Nova Carbon Capture


Capture: Petra Nova Parish Holdings, LLC – a 50/50 joint venture between NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration

Transport and Storage: Texas Coastal Ventures, a joint venture between Petra Nova Parish Holdings and Hilcorp Energy Company

LOCATION: Texas, United States

COcapture source: Unit 8 at the W.A. Parish power plant at Thompsons, near Houston, Texas

COstorage site: West Ranch Oil Field, Jackson County, Texas

INDUSTRY (FEEDSTOCK): Power generation – pulverized coal boiler (sub-bituminous coal)



CO2 CAPTURE CAPACITY VOLUME: 1.4 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa)

CAPTURE TYPE: Post-combustion

CAPTURE METHOD: Absorption chemical solvent-based process (Amine)

NEW BUILD OR RETROFIT: Retrofit (to an existing power plant)

PRIMARY STORAGE OPTION: Enhanced oil recovery

STORAGE FORMATION AND DEPTH: Frio Formation (sandstone) 1,640–2,066 meters / 5,000–6,300 feet below ground surface

TRANSPORTATION TYPE: Pipeline (onshore to onshore)


Facilities description


The W.A. Parish power plant is one of the largest generation facilities in the United States with four coal-fired units totaling 2,475 MW (gross) and six gas-fired units totaling 1,270 MW (gross). The coal-fired units use over 30,000 tonnes per day of coal, sourced from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. The plant is located in rural Fort Bend County within the incorporated area of the town of Thompsons, Texas (southwest of Houston).

The development retrofits Unit 8 of the W. A. Parish plant with a post combustion CO2 capture system constructed within the existing site. Petra Nova is the world's largest post-combustion CO2 capture system in operation.

The capture facility uses an advanced amine-based absorption technology to capture at least 90 per cent (or approximately 1.4 Mtpa) of COfrom a 240 MW flue gas slipstream of the 610 MW (net) pulverized coal-fired generating unit. NRG Energy initially contemplated a smaller-scale proposal at the Parish plant, capturing approximately 375,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum from a 60 MW flue gas slipstream, but the project was subsequently expanded to its current form to provide larger volumes of CO2 for EOR purposes. A new 75 MW (net) gas-fired cogeneration plant commenced operation in June 2013 to provide peaking power for the electric grid in Texas. The cogeneration facility provides steam and power to operate the capture plant (with any remaining MWhs of electric energy to be sold into the grid).

The purity of the COput into the pipeline for transport is designed to be greater than 99 per cent. The captured CO2 is transported via a new 132 kilometre / 82 mile long, 12-inch diameter underground pipeline to the West Ranch oil field, located near the city of Vanderbilt in Jackson County, Texas. The pipeline route includes mostly rural and sparsely developed agricultural lands. Texas Coastal Ventures (TCV) owns and operates the pipeline.

The transported CO2 is injected into the 98-A, 41-A, Glasscock and Greta sand units of the Frio Formation, approximately 1,640–2,066 meters / 5,000–6,300 feet below ground surface and where oil has been produced since 1938. The portions of the West Ranch oil field in which EOR operations are conducted are currently owned or leased by Texas Coastal Ventures. Hilcorp Energy Company, a partner in TCV, is conducting the EOR operations. Nine injection wells and 16 production wells are being used initially for EOR operations. As many as 130 injection wells and 130 production wells could be used over the 20-year span of the project. 

TCV, in cooperation with the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, has developed a CO2 monitoring plan to track the injection and migration of CO2 within the geologic formations at the EOR site. In addition to satisfying the monitoring requirements of the Clean Coal Power Initiative (under which the project received federal funding) the CO2 monitoring program is designed to satisfy the monitoring, sampling and testing requirements of the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) certification program for tax exemptions related to use of CO2 for EOR and use of CO2 from anthropogenic sources.

Latitude: 29.4777

Longitude: -95.635

Key milestones

March 2009: NRG Energy’s W.A. Parish CCS project selected to receive up to US$154 million under the third round of the Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI), which includes funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)

October 2011: EOR host site acquired

December 2012: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issues an air permit for the project

December 2012: Detailed design initiated

December 2012: NRG-Petra Nova sign engagement letter with a debt financing provider

May 2013: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Record of Decision supporting US$167 million in cost-shared funding for the project under DOEs CCPI program

July 2014: The (renamed) Petra Nova Carbon Capture moves into the construction phase under a 50/50 joint venture arrangement between NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration

August 2016: Construction of capture and CO2 pipeline essentially complete. First flue gas introduced into the capture system.

January 2017: Petra Nova Carbon Capture officially commences operations.

Project data is current as at 20/06/2017