Houston carbon storage solutions company names new energy transition leader at pivotal time of growth

John Egan - Oct 6, 2023 (Energy Captial HTX) Caliche

Graham Payne sees a bright future for the multibillion-dollar energy transition economy in Houston.

“It’s been said that Houston is poised, like no other city, to lead the energy transition. And I’d have to agree, because we have all the requisite natural resources, industry, and talent,” says Payne, the new director of energy transition at Houston-based carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) company Caliche Development Partners II.

Caliche and other Houston-based energy transition companies secured $6.1 billion in private funding last year, up 62 percent from 2022, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.

“As the region positions itself as the leader in the global energy transition, Houston has seen constant growth in annual energy transition investments over the last five years,” the partnership says.

Payne, a geologist, comes to Caliche after holding roles at Battelle and Schlumberger, among other companies. Houston-based Sudduth Search recruited Payne for the Caliche job.

In his new position, Payne is overseeing permitting and completion of a leased 4,000-acre site in Beaumont for sequestration of carbon dioxide. Payne will also work on current and potential gas storage projects, which he says “will continue to play an important role in the energy mix.”

At previous employers, Payne has tackled various aspects of CCUS.

“The really enticing part about this job is the chance to put it all together, and then operate a full-scale operation,” he says. “I want this technology to move firmly out of the research phase and start making a measurable difference against climate change.”

Payne says Caliche is capable of successfully straddling the worlds of CCUS, natural gas storage, and industrial gas storage. The Beaumont project alone will be able sequester at least 30 million metric tons of carbon, a Caliche estimate indicates.

In November, Caliche announced the acquisition of its first CCUS assets, Golden Triangle Storage and Central Valley Gas Storage, following a $268 million infusion of capital from Orion Infrastructure Capital and GCM Grosvenor. Orion maintains offices in Houston, New York City, and London. GCM is based in Chicago.

The Golden Triangle and Central Valley deals were valued at a combined $186 million.

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