Will Carbon Capture and Storage Save Oil and Gas?

This week, former Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that he was joining the board of Inventys Thermal Technologies, a Canadian firm specializing in carbon capture and storage, or CCS. This Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency removed an important obstacle from CCS development by exempting certain types of underground injections from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. It sure seems as though CCS' star is rising.

Great hope or false promise?
Many energy experts hold CCS to be the technology that will allow the world to continue developing fossil fuels while reducing their climate change impact. But does CCS really deserve all this adulation?

Southern (NYSE: SO  ) and General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) sure seem to think so. Southern is developing what will likely be the world's first large commercial carbon plant, if the project's delays and cost overruns don't derail it. Given how much skin Southern has in the game, it's perhaps no surprise that the company questions the viability of Inventys' technology.

General Electric makes compressors for carbon capture and storage applications and has added carbon capture capacity to its natural gas-fired turbines. The company is one of the partners on a CCS project in Lake Charles, La., which is expected to come online sometime in 2014. GE is also a member of a government-university-business consortium tasked with developing carbon-sequestration projects in China with funding from the DoE.

With growing global urgency to control carbon dioxide emissions, any company that gets CCS right stands to enjoy a windfall. But there's a looming risk that could undermine the entire proposition.

A series of recent studies have linked underground injection of gas and fluids with an increase in the number and intensity of earthquakes in particular regions in the United States. The phenomenon is called "induced seismicity," and it could dramatically undermine CCS' prospects. Watch the following video to learn more about these developments and their implications.

A better bet in energy?
Maybe there's a surer thing out there for you to consider. Imagine a company that rents a very specific and valuable piece of machinery for $41,000 per hour. (That's almost as much as the average American makes in a year!) And Warren Buffett is so confident in this company's can't-live-without-it business model, he just loaded up on 8.8 million shares. An exclusive, brand-new Motley Fool report reveals the company we're calling OPEC's Worst Nightmare. Just click here to uncover the name of this industry-leading stock, and join Buffett in his quest for a veritable landslide of profits!

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2774095, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/26/2016 10:18:43 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,115.51 -145.94 -0.80%
S&P 500 2,153.05 -11.64 -0.54%
NASD 5,262.76 -42.99 -0.81%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/26/2016 10:03 AM
GE $29.66 Down -0.23 -0.77%
General Electric CAPS Rating: ****
SO $53.61 Up +0.08 +0.15%
Southern Company CAPS Rating: ***