Bureau of Economic Geology

Gulf Coast Carbon Center

News 2023

April 25 – 27th, 2023: Representatives from the GCCC will be presenting at SPE, AAPG, and SEG’ Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage meeting in Houston, TX.  

April 12, 2023: Congratulations to Dr. Sahar Bakhshian. Sahar was selected by UT’s Energy Institute, 2023 Strategic Energy Seed Grant Program, to receive funding for her project entitled, “Long-term surveillance of plugged and abandoned wells for immediate detection of CO2 leakage in geological carbon storge sites.”

GoMCarb-SECARB announce



April 5, 6th, and 7th, 2023:  The Gulf Coast Carbon Center hosted the 2023 Joint Annual GoMCarb - SECARB Offshore Partnerships Meeting. Presentations covered topics about CCS Outreach; Energy, Equity, and Environmental Justice (EEEJ); Regulatory and Legislative Updates, Infrastructure, Monitoring, as well as Characterization and Assessment of Storage Opportunities. To read a summary about the GoMCarb Project and this event, read Tim Dixon’s IEAGHG blog here.  


March 30th, 2023: The Bureau of Economic Geology’s Outreach Team and the GCCC’s postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Zhicheng (William) Wang, participated in Geology Day at Thornton Elementary School in Temple, TX. William taught students about carbon dioxide with various science activities and experiments. The group interacted with approximately 250 students and 10 teachers throughout the day.  Students were excited to see several scientific demonstrations, and described the event as “bring[ing] the museum to the school.” Due to the pandemic, many children have not had the opportunity to travel to regional museums or parks, so we must act now to engage this group now. Special thanks to Linda McCall, and her team, for promoting STEM to future generations! 

School hallway with experiment
Dry ice
Child blowing bubbles






March 25th, 2023: Dr. Katherine Romanak presented and lead a discussion entitled, Explore the Pros & Cons of CCS, during Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Third Coast) Cocktails & Conversations Series between 4 and 5 pm CDT. 

Collage of K. Romanak

Whitehouse logo

March 24, 2023: Congratulations to Dr. Tip Meckel, Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology’s Gulf Coast Carbon Center, for being selected as a member of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Carbon Dioxide Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) Federal Lands and Outer Continental Shelf Permitting Task Force.

On March 24, 2023, The White House's Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced members of two new task forces, required by the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act. The goals for these task forces are to “provide recommendations to the Federal government on how to ensure that CCUS projects, including carbon dioxide pipelines, are permitted in an efficient manner, that will reflect the input and needs of a wide range of stakeholders, and deliver benefits rather than harm to local communities.” Read the official announcement here.

Hovorka_03-22-23 meeting


March 22, 2023: Dr. Sue Hovorka hosted several of our graduate students, researchers, and the BEG’s outreach team at the GCCC. The group had lively discussions on how to educate kids of all ages about carbon dioxide and performed various scientific demonstrations.  


March 15, 2023: Powerhouse Texas released a highlight reel from the Energy Innovation Forum that Dr. Katherine Romanak participated in on February 6th, 2023. Click here to watch the entire forum from that day. 

Women's Day collage




March 8, 2023: Happy Women’s International Day from the Gulf Coast Carbon Center. 
Thanks to Dr. Sue Hovorka for leading the Gulf Coast Carbon Center as the Principal Investigator of the Gulf Coast Carbon Center. We are proud of the women in our group, and all women engaged with carbon capture and storage. We celebrate ALL women today, and thank all of you for supporting women every day.

We have an international group of women scientists and engineers at the GCCC, which currently includes: Sue Hovorka, Sahar Bakhshian, Hailun Ni, Angela Luciano, Maria Paula Madariaga Cubides, Yushan Li, Katherine Romanak, Edna Rodriguez Calzado, GIT, Shadya Taleb, and Dolores van der Kolk. 



Alaska flag


March 8, 2023: The Alaska Senate Resources Committee invited Dr. Tip Meckel to speak on the topic of CCS. Alaska has two bills under consideration in the current state legislative session: Senate Bills 48 and 49.


SB-49 relates to the geologic storage of carbon dioxide, and primacy of Class VI wells, and establishes a Closure Trust Fund and other financial aspects of closure and long-term ownership. A $2.50 per ton minimum injection charge is established.  CO2 that is stored and remains in storage under a permit is not a pollutant and does not constitute a nuisance. Once a certificate of completion is issued, title to the storage facility and to the stored carbon dioxide transfers, without payment of any compensation, to the state under the management of the Department of Natural Resources. Storage operators shall pay the commission a surcharge on each ton of carbon dioxide injected for storage. The surcharge must be in the amount set by the commission. The amount must be based on anticipated expenses that the state will incur in regulating storage facilities during post-closure phases.

SB-48 authorizes the Department of Natural Resources to lease land for carbon management purposes; establishes a carbon offset program for state land; and authorizes the sale of carbon offset credits. It mostly contemplates non-geologic carbon management activities. Among other definitions, "carbon offset credit" is defined to mean a transferrable instrument issued by a registry for a validated and verified project that represents an emission reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.

CSIRO logo

March 7th, 2023: The GCCC is teaming up with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Perth, Australia with an internal webinar series to share current interests in carbon capture and storage (CCS) and to explore collaboration by having thematic discussions about CCS.  CSIRO is an Australian Government agency responsible for scientific research. The first webinar was a tag team event, with Dr. Tess Dance and Dr. Alex Bump giving us their thoughts about finding storage, and then Dr. Andy Ross and Dr. Tip Meckel talking about offshore storage and especially “hubs.”

We previously had Dr. Charles Jenkins (Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO), working with us as a BEG GCCC Visiting Scholar for a few months last year. We are excited to continue our engagement with Dr. Charles Jenkins from CSIRO: He is notably one of our GCCC International Fellows. 

March 6 to 10th, 2023: GCCC graduate students Maria Madriaga and Ismail Faruqi attended CERAWeek by S&P Global in Houston, TX. Our students were excited to come back from the conference to discuss a session about carbon hubs and the potential utilization and storage of CO2.  

CeraWeek 1
Ceraweek 2
Ceraweek 3
Ceraweek 2







Bump 02-28-23 talk



February 28th, 2023: The Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, hosted Dr. Alex Bump, for an in-person and live-streamed presentation entitled, CCS: The Swiss Army Knife of Climate Change Mitigation and a Key to the Energy Transition for their Symposium Series. Click here to watch the talk.  



February 28, 2023: Dr. Tip Meckel was an invited speaker for the Golden Triangle Days session at the Capitol complex in Austin. Tip followed comments by Texas Speaker, Dade Phelan from the House of Representatives, and provided a vision of CCS development in the Gulf Coast, notably in the Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange region. Tip’s presentation covered standard CCS aspects, with special consideration for how to address clustered emission hubs like the Golden Triangle and also leverage Federal funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) legislation. 

Tip at Capitol
People at meeting












February 27, 2023: Special thanks to Tim Dixon, the Director of IEAGHG, for being a keynote speaker at our first 2023 Gulf Coast Carbon Center's Sponsors' Meeting of the year. Tim summarized "Hot CCS Topics" at our February 2023 Sponsors’ Meeting and summarized details about our Sponsors' Meeting on IEAGHG's informative blog about CCS and CCS events here

Shaunak presentation at fair



February 24, 2023: Dr. Sahar Bakhshian’s high school intern, Shaunak Pandey, advanced from the regional science fair to the state science fair that will be held March 24 and 25th at Texas A&M. Read more here



Montage of meeting



February 22, 2023: Was a beautiful, bluebird day in Austin, TX, U.S.A. to kick off the semiannual Gulf Coast Carbon Center's Sponsors' Meeting. Drs. Sue Hovorka and Katherine Romanak each hosted CCS training events, Dr. Carlos A Uroza laid out core from the Wilcox Group that generated lively discussions, we had a beautiful mixer on our terrace, and we toured both the Carbon Capture Facility and the Bureau of Economic Geology's Core Research Center. We appreciate the support of all of our Sponsors, and a full day of presentations on February 23, 2023. Hook'em Horns! 

To read summaries about the event held on February 22nd and 23rd, 2023, read the Bureau of Economic Geology’s news  and IEAGHG’s Blog about the event.     



Zhicheng (William) Wang

Zhicheng (William) Wang


February 13, 2023: The GCCC welcomes Dr. Zhicheng (William) Wang as a new Postdoctoral Fellow who will be working with Dr. Seyyed Hosseini. Dr. Wang received his Ph.D. in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 2022. Dr. Wang’s dissertation focused on pore-scale modeling of multiphase flow in porous media. While at Penn State, Dr. Wang managed several projects that incorporated natural gas reservoir modeling and simulations in several unconventional reservoirs. Dr. Wang also has previous experience as a Data Scientist. In 2017, William received a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from China University of Petroleum-Beijing. During his spare time, William enjoys watching and playing sports, including but not limited to soccer, tennis, and swimming. He also enjoys traveling and exploring different cultures. Welcome to the GCCC, William!  



February 11, 2023: Drs. Hailun Ni, Sahar Bakhshian, and Tip Meckel published Effects of grain size and small-scale bedform architecture on CO2 saturation from buoyancy-driven flow in Nature’s Scientific Reports. To view this open-access journal article, please click here.

February 11, 2023: The GCCC congratulates high school student Shaunak Pandey and graduate student Richard Colt Larson for winning awards for presenting their research, advised by Dr. Sahar Bakhshian, at the Jackson School of Geosciences 12th Annual Student Research Symposium. Several GCCC students presented their research in a poster format to representatives from ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Occidental Petroleum. 

Sahar’s high school student intern, Shaunak Pandey, won first place for a poster titled, “Pore-Scale Simulation of CO2 Migration in Rough-Walled Geologic Fractures through Volume of Fluid Method leveraging High-Performance Computing for Risk Assessment of Carbon Sequestration.”

Sahar’s M.S. student, Richard Colt Larson, won 2nd place in the early career graduate student division for his poster titled, “The Influence of Microscale Heterogeneity of Sedimentary Rocks on CO2 Migration and Capillary Trapping in Geologic Carbon Sequestration.”

The GCCC is proud of Sahar and her student who were given high honors at this event.  The GCCC congratulates everyone who participated, as well as the declared winners, of the Jackson School of Geosciences 12th Annual Student Research Symposium. 

Korean Delegation



February 6, 2023:  Dr. Susan Hovorka hosted Dr. Wonsuck Kim, currently with Yonsei University in South Korea, and a delegation from the Korean CCS Association. The Korean delegation, headed by Dr. Yi Kyun Kwon, visited Austin’s Core Research Center to view and discuss core from the Cranfield Project. 




February 6th, 2023:  Dr. Katherine Romanak was invited to provide an overview about carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) by PowerHouse Texas at the Texas Capitol in Austin, TX.  PowerHouse Texas and the UK Science and Innovation Network are currently co-hosting Energy Innovation Forums at the Legislative Conference Center.  These “Energy Innovation Forums are created to bring industry leaders, academics, policymakers, and community advocates together to discuss innovative technologies that have the potential to increase grid reliability while decarbonizing and spurring the economy.” The goal of this meeting was to have honest conversations about CCUS including the social, racial, and environmental considerations and to discuss implications for CCUS infrastructure buildout. Click here to watch the forum.

Break out discussions featured a debate that included the VP from Carbon Clean, Glen Bailey, who described reducing the cost of carbon capture; the TX State Representative to the Texas Legislature, Drew Darby, who discussed his HB 1158 that was introduced in January of 2023; and the Founder and Executive Director of Commission Shift, Virginia Palacios, who voiced her concerns about the RRC being the sole oversight body of CCS projects once Texas gains primacy. 

At this event, Dr. Romanak held a private question-and-answer session with energy policy fellows from PowerHouse Texas before giving the keynote presentation and overview about CCUS. Dr. Romanak’s keynote address introduced how CCUS works, outlined the difference between long-term storage and using carbon capture for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), explained what would be needed to buildout an entirely new carbon pipeline infrastructure, and also addressed concerns about health, drinking water, and leakage. As determined by the U.N. and U.S. carbon reduction standards, Dr. Romanak outlined how CCUS can help achieve decarbonization goals. 

Dr. Romanak speaking

Dr. Hailun Ni

Dr. Hailun Ni



February 1, 2023: We are excited to announce that the GCCC’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Hailun Ni, has officially been promoted as a Research Associate and has the new title of Laboratory Experimentalist. In this position, Dr. Ni will continue to perform laboratory research activities, which will focus on applications of physical experiments for carbon capture and geologic storage. The GCCC is excited to congratulate all of your achievements, and this spectacular career milestone, Dr. Ni!


February 1, 2023: The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) initiative recently awarded the Port of Corpus Christi in southern Texas $16.4 million to assess the technical and economic feasibility of permanently storing captured carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial operations.

Of the $16.4 million, $7.3 million was awarded to the CarbonSAFE Phase II – Storage Complex Feasibility: Coastal Bend Offshore Carbon Storage project with Principal Investigators, Dr. Tip Meckel from the Gulf Coast Carbon Center, and the Chief Strategy Officer Jeff Pollack from the Port of Corpus Christi Authority (POCCA) leading the helm.  

For this award cycle, the Port of Corpus Christi received the largest total award of those announced by the DOE and was notably the only recipient of CarbonSAFE funding in Texas. To read more, please click here.

January 26th, 2023:  The GCCC hosted a premier CCS group from the University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT) and the University of the West Indies (UWI). The group included Dr. David Alexander (UTT), Dr. Donnie Boodlal (UTT), Prof. Raffie Hosein (UWI), and a current Ph.D. student Mr. Paul Singh (UWI). This group has been working on storage capacity in hydrocarbon fields with support from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI) and using data from Heritage (state-owned oil and gas company), Shell, and BPTT.  Since 2017, Dr. Katherine Romanak has been collaborating with this team and they are currently working toward a saline capacity assessment for CCS in Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Seyyed Hosseini hosted a 3-hour EASiTool Training Workshop for the group. We are excited to help support CCS, nationally, and internationally!

CCS Trinidad_Tobago meeting

January 23rd – 25th, 2023:  Dr. Tip Meckel attended the recently created Port Opportunities with Energy, Resilience & Sustainability (POWERS) Summit & Exposition in Tampa, Florida. The POWERS Summit & Expo brought port executives, energy leaders, environmental experts, and other key stakeholders together to promote deep conversations on emerging sustainability solutions in the port industry. Dr. Meckel was a keynote speaker and discussed “CCUS for Ports.” His keynote was followed by a fireside chat guided by Kym Bolado, the publisher and president of SHALE Oil & Gas Magazine. 

Dr. Tip Meckle speaking


January 20 to 22, 2023: Two of our master's students, Jose Ubillus (Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering) and Richard Larson (Jackson School of Geosciences, Energy and Earth Resources), competed in the 3rd Annual Energy AI Hackathon hosted by the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.

The PGE AI Hackathon is a programming competition where students are tasked to solve a real-world geostatistical problem using data analytics and machine learning in Python. This year's challenge was to develop a model that could predict failure in electrical submersible pumps (ESPs). Over the course of 48 hours, students compete to create the best code with the highest predictive ability. Richard’s team, “the Hackalopes”, won 2nd place overall and Jose’s team, "the Fractals", won an honorary prize for an outstanding presentation and speech. Congratulations, Richard and Jose, and to all competitors and organizers. Hook’em!

Group photo-Hackalopes

Richard's team "the Hackalopes" won 2nd place in the competition and are photographed here with AI Hackathon organizers Prof. John Foster and Prof. Michael Pyrcz.

Group photo - Fractals

Jose's team "the Fractals" won an honorary prize for outstanding presentation and speech. The team is photographed here with AI Hackathon organizers Prof. John Foster and Prof. Michael Pyrcz.


Blazej Ksiazek

Blazej Ksiazek


January 17, 2023: Dr. Sahar Bakhshian has hired a new graduate research assistant, Blazej Ksiazek, for the spring and summer of 2023 to work on a project entitled: Combining quantitative leakage risk assessment with financial liability for CO2 geologic storage: Providing information to the insurance sector. Blazej is currently a M.S. student with the Petroleum Engineering Department at UT Austin who received his Bachelor's in Petroleum Engineering from The University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Blazej is originally from Chicago, Illinois.  Blazej's M.S. degree focus is about data analytics and machine learning-assisted subsurface resource modeling. Blazej is also a member of the UT Austin PetroBowl team and the UT Austin Polish Club. Welcome, Blazej!

January 16th, 2023:  One of our scientists from the Gulf Coast Carbon Center, Dr. Alex Bump, was interviewed for a podcast, produced by the Global CCS Institute. In this interview, Dr. Bump describes how CO2 is injected, how CO2 storage sites are developed, how CO2 plumes move and are monitored, and how new storage sites may be identified in the future. This great 35-minute podcast about carbon storage discusses why the U.S.A. and the Gulf of Mexico are geologically significant places for storing carbon dioxide. To hear a fantastic update about CCS , click here.

If you would like to learn more, download Dr. Alex Bump and Dr. Sue Hovorka’s recent publication entitled, "Fetch-trap pairs: Exploring definition of carbon storage prospects to increase capacity and flexibility in areas with competing uses" by the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.  

Maria Madariaga

Maria Madariaga


January 15th, 2023: The GCCC welcomes the Jackson School of Geoscience’s Energy and Earth Resources (JSG EER) M.S. student Maria Paula Madariaga who will be advised by Dr. Carlos Uroza. As part of Maria’s M.S. project, she will be working with Dr. Uroza who is conducting a regional evaluation of the Wilcox Group for CO2 storage potential in South Texas. Maria will assess a subset of this dataset to help evaluate the CO2 storage potential of the Wilcox Group. In 2018, Maria received her B.S. in Geoscience from the University of Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia where she originally is from. Maria Paula previously worked for Frontera Energy Corporation for 5 years while in Colombia. Welcome aboard, Maria!

Click here to view 2022 news and events.

Click here for "RI0283. Geological CO2 Sequestration Atlas of Miocene Strata, Offshore Texas State Waters"


For a flyer on GCCC mission, activities, impact, and goals, please click here.

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