The National Football League’s Houston Texans agreed to buy carbon credits from Occidental Petroleum Corp. to offset the impacts of the team’s air travel to games in other cities.
In a turn of phrase typically reserved for shoe and beverage makers, Occidental’s 1PointFive unit said it will be the team’s “preferred carbon removal partner,” according to a statement released Friday. The Texans, currently the worst-ranked team in the NFL, said the offsets will cover three seasons of flights.
Occidental’s Direct Air Capture project in the Permian Basin oilfield of West Texas will remove 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the air annually and lock the greenhouse gas deep underground. The Houston Texans will pay Occidental for credits tied to a share of the carbon removed. Construction of the plant is expected to finish in 2024.
Such arrangements were viewed with skepticism when Occidental first announced the project in 2019 but since then major emitters such as Airbus SE and United Airlines Holdings Inc. have signed up for offsets. The business received a further boost from the Inflation Reduction Act last year that provides for a $180-a-ton tax credit to remove CO2 from the air.
Controversially, Occidental is considering using some of the CO2 taken out of the air to harvest for crude oil from aging fields in a process known as enhanced oil recovery. The company claims that with all the emissions removed, it can produce a carbon-neutral barrel of oil but environmentalists view the process as prolonging the fossil-fuel era.
For the Texans’ deal, all the carbon dioxide “will be sequestered in saline reservoirs not associated with oil and gas production,” the companies said. Ten of the team’s 21 pre- and regular-season games were scheduled to be played in other cities this season.
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