Petra Nova, a $1bn carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery system, has commenced operations at the coal-fired WA Parish power plant in in Fort Bend County, Texas.

The system, which is retrofitted onto an existing coal plant, is a 50-50 joint venture by NRG and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation (JX Nippon).

The US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Texas Governor Greg Abbott visited the facility to celebrate the start of operations of the carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery system.

It has already supplied over 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the West Ranch oil field.

To increase oil production in an established process known as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), the captured CO2 is injected into the oil reservoir.

Secretary Perry said: “While the Petra Nova project will certainly benefit Texas, it also demonstrates that clean coal technologies can have a meaningful and positive impact on the Nation’s energy security and economic growth.”

Petro Nova captures 90% of CO2 from a 240 MW equivalent slipstream of flue gas off an existing coal-fueled electrical generating unit at the WA Parish power plant.

The captured CO2 will be used by Hilcorp to increase production at West Ranch oilfield. Jointly owned by NRG, JX Nippon and Hilcorp, the oil field is operated by Hilcorp.

JX Nippon president and CEO Shunsaku Miyake said: “This project enables us not only to decrease greenhouse gas from the coal-fired power plant, but also, at the same time to dramatically boost oil production.”

In January, NRG Energy, JX Nippon and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced the completion of the project, which was announced in 2014.

Image: U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry (right) joins NRG Energy CEO Mauricio Gutierrez (left) on a tour of the Petra Nova carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery system on Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston. Photo courtesy of Business Wire.