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how dialing back heat aids lower carbon progress

2 min read | june 28, 2024

As a Chevron lower carbon coordinator, Mark Korte-Nahabedian is responsible for Chevron’s carbon management activities in San Joaquin Valley, California.

Mark Korte-Nahabedian likes a challenge, and in his role as a lower carbon coordinator, he’s helping solve some important ones.

Responsible for Chevron’s carbon management activities in the San Joaquin Valley Business Unit (SJVBU) in California, he’s passionate about finding new ways to improve the company’s environmental performance.

Recently, he and his team implemented a process that lowered the company’s SJVBU carbon emissions by 15%, compared with 2022 levels.

“It’s hugely gratifying,” Korte-Nahabedian said. “We’re always looking for opportunities like these.”

“It really feels like we are innovating and learning all the time, which is exciting.”

mark korte-nahabedian
lower carbon coordinator

more on that

The oil trapped beneath San Joaquin Valley fields is as thick and sticky as honey, making it difficult to extract.

Chevron’s approach to unlocking it involves injecting steam into the ground to heat the oil and help it move more freely.

However, generating steam for enhanced oil recovery is a carbon intense activity.

the solution

Using less steam helps reduce carbon intensity. And getting to a point where Chevron could use less steam to extract oil required ingenuity.

“It’s not that we don’t use any steam,” Korte-Nahabedian said. “It’s about optimizing when, where and how much heat we put in our reservoirs, without using excess energy.”

A worker is working on a wheel valve with two other workers looking on at a water recycling plant near the Kern River in the San Joaquin Valley, California.

Chevron’s San Joaquin Valley Business Unit is headquartered in Bakersfield, California, with operations in Kern, Fresno and Monterey counties.

moving the needle

Chevron’s San Joaquin Valley team is looking to drive steam-related emissions down further by:

  • Lowering the carbon intensity of steam generation. This might involve using a lower carbon source fuel, such as lower carbon intensity hydrogen, to boil water, instead of using natural gas.
  • Capturing and storing carbon dioxide to prevent it from entering the atmosphere.
  • Piloting innovative technologies that could provide significant efficiencies in carbon capture from emissions, as well as technologies that remove carbon directly from the atmosphere.
carbon capture
did you know?
Chevron plans to spend $8 billion between 2021 and 2028 to develop lower carbon businesses. This is in addition to investing $2 billion in carbon reduction projects.

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