State Work Group Releases Infrastructure Plan for CO2 Pipeline Networks: Cites Potential for Tripling the U.S. EOR Industry

WASHINGTON, DC – A multi-state group co-convened by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and Montana Governor Steve Bullock released a new white paper today calling on President Trump and Congress to make CO2 pipelines a priority component of a broader national infrastructure agenda and recommending that the federal government support the development of CO2 pipeline networks that will securely transport large volumes of carbon dioxide to American oil fields for use in enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR).

The report—21st Century Energy Infrastructure: Policy Recommendations for Development of American CO2 Pipeline Networks—recommends the development of strategically-placed pipeline corridors that expand on existing commercial CO2 pipeline networks to significantly increase the capability to carry CO2 from industrial facilities and power plants to American oil fields.

“Carbon capture for enhanced oil recovery with CO2 storage is a game changer for the American economy,” said Brad Crabtree, Vice President for Fossil Energy at the Great Plains Institute. “But to make the current potential a reality, we need an investment in the nation’s energy infrastructure. This report outlines the specific policies and federal support necessary to build the pipelines that will boost America's energy independence, create jobs and decrease emissions.”

Governors Mead and Bullock launched the Work Group in 2015, which released a comprehensive set of federal and state incentive policy recommendations for carbon capture in December 2016 – Putting the Puzzle Together:  State & Federal Policy Drivers for Growing America’s Carbon Capture & CO2-EOR Industry.  The Great Plains Institute staffs and facilitates the Work Group.

For illustrative purposes, the Work Group has prepared a map outlining five potential large-volume, long-distance CO2 pipeline corridors. These pipelines could expand the annual supply of man-made (anthropogenic) CO2 available for EOR by 150 million tons by 2030, when coupled with targeted federal incentives for deployment of carbon capture technology.

The report includes analysis showing that robust pipeline infrastructure on this scale could triple the existing U.S. EOR industry, with new American oil production of approximately 375 million barrels per year and an estimated reduction of 22 percent in annual U.S. oil imports valued at $30 billion. The recommended CO2 pipeline infrastructure has the potential to drive an estimated $75 billion of capital investment and stimulate more than $30 billion per year in economic activity. 

Crabtree noted that a major obstacle to scaling up CO2-EOR is the lack of infrastructure. 

“Trunk pipelines are needed to link industrial and power plant CO2 sources to oilfield customers, and they must be built at very large scale across regions to make economic sense,” Crabtree said.

In addition, the Work Group recommends that the federal government play a targeted role, supplementing private capital, in financing increased capacity for priority trunk pipelines to transport CO2 from industrial facilities and power plants not currently served by pipeline infrastructure to oilfields for EOR. 

The Work Group is also recommending that Congress and the President work with states, tribal governments and key stakeholders to identify and foster development of these pipeline corridors, including support for planning, streamlined permitting, and financing. 

The report notes that CO2 pipeline development will support thousands of high-paying energy, mining, construction, manufacturing, engineering and technically-skilled operations and services jobs, while generating additional state and federal revenues through new energy production and other economic activity.

In addition, the Work Group emphasizes that new CO2 pipelines can improve the competitiveness of existing coal-fired power plants, support domestic manufacturing and attract new manufacturing, and help onshore and return industrial production of petrochemicals, cement, steel, and other heavy industries. 

“The development of a robust CO2 pipeline network will expand on a major competitive advantage the U.S. oil and gas industry holds in utilizing CO2 for hydrocarbon recovery with geologic storage, while providing an economic boost for American workers and other domestic industries here at home,” Crabtree concluded.

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Media Contact:

Brad Crabtree

701-830-0302 (call or text)