Irving, TX – based multinational oil and gas corporation, ExxonMobil, announced a new co-funding agreement with California-based Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI), which shifts SGI’s focus to research on the development of enhanced types of algae instead of settling for more convenient but possibly less efficient options.
This new agreement addresses the rumors from last spring of a falling-out and eventual separation of the two companies.
Despite a renewed partnership, however, human genome mapper J. Craig Venter seemed to make it a point to emphasize to the publicly stated that SGI would not be behind the reigns of the marketing and commercial aspect of the algae biofuel venture. This differentiation between the commercial and foundational aspects of research within the partnership could ultimately mean that ExxonMobil does not intend to introduce algae biofuel to the market any time soon — a reversal of sorts, considering that the company has touted its plans to invest in alternative energy sources like algae in the past.
Although hope remains high regarding ExxonMobil’s commitment to algae biofuel in the long term, its recent licensing agreement with G2X Energy, Inc., a Houston-based company specializing in advances in hydraulic fracturing and other natural gas production technologies, could mean ExxonMobil is giving more attention and effort to developing natural gas instead of algae biofuel, considering the Obama administration has recently approved a $10 billion liquified natural gas export facility in Texas last week.