Japanese oil refiner Eneos Holdings and utility J-Power have joined forces to launch the nation’s first permanent carbon capture and storage operation by the end of this decade, the two companies said. The partners have agreed to execute a feasibility study for the project, with plans to begin exploring a site in western Japan later this year.

Eneos and J-Power will start designing the carbon capture facility as soon as next year and make a final investment decision around 2026.

Eneos will utilize its know-how in storing carbon dioxide underground to cut 3 million tons of emissions groupwide in fiscal year 2030, equivalent to 10% of emissions in fiscal year 2013.

J-Power will capture carbon from coal-fired power plants. The utility, formally known as Electric Power Development, is developing technology for exploring underground strata suitable for storage.

In addition, the project will store carbon dioxide produced by other companies. The companies hope to invite various participants to join the project — including government authorities, local communities, construction firms and transportation companies — to establish a CCS chain and cut costs.

The project, if realized, would be the first major CCS project in Japan, the companies said. The government-led Tomakomai CCS pilot project is currently in the monitoring phase, after injecting around 300,000 t per year of CO2 underground from April 2016 to November 2019.