As investor scrutiny of the climate impact of oil and gas rises, Hollub is vying to transform Occidental into a “carbon management” company. By capturing carbon dioxide from the air and selling the service as a product to difficult-to-decarbonize sectors such as aviation, the firm could be earning as much from its low-carbon ventures as from its traditional oil and gas operations within 15 or 20 years, Hollub said in January. It is part of the firm’s strategy to reach net-zero emissions from its own operations by 2040 and from customers’ use of its products, including emissions from burning them, by 2050.

The overhaul involves investing heavily to develop technology inside a subsidiary, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures. Last month a partnership run by Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and a private equity firm awarded a contract to construction firm Worley to design the initial phase of what would be the first-ever commercial-scale direct air capture facility, capable of sequestering one million metric tons of atmospheric CO2 annually. (Direct air capture or DAC differs from conventional carbon capture facilities in that the technology can be deployed anywhere, not just as add-ons to industrial or power facilities.)

The transformative move again distinguishes her from American peers. With open-mindedness and flexibility, Hollub is a decided contrast with “the typical oil guy,” said Alisa Lukash, a senior shale analyst at the consultancy Rystad Energy. Famous oilmen like Harold Hamm were often less interested in applying new technology than leveraging geopolitical connections or aggressively lobbying governments, Lukash said.

Anadarko’s newly acquired shale assets also could provide a boost to the new strategy, by helping create scale for the firm’s plan to use captured CO2 to pump back into the ground to extract more “carbon-neutral” oil. “They have that backbone in place,” said Scott Hanold, a managing director at investment bank RBC Capital Markets.

It became clear in a recent earnings call with analysts that Hollub is already intensely focused on the new goal. Of the nearly 3,000 words Hollub spoke in the Q&A section of the company’s call this month to discuss 2020 fourth quarter results, 84% of them were related to carbon capture and storage, taking the form of long answers to analysts’ questions, according to a transcript. She let others, including chief financial officer Rob Peterson, handle many of the finance-related questions.

Like the shale revolution which Hollub helped preside over, the coming carbon capture overhaul of the firm will at its heart require technical expertise. With her passion for industry’s nitty gritty combined with her big-picture approach to change, Hollub may be better suited for the job than most.