U.S. government approves Wyoming CO2 pipeline routes
CASPER, Wyoming (AP) – The U.S. government has approved routes for a pipeline system that would move carbon dioxide through Wyoming into what may be by far the largest such network in North America, s it is developed.
The greenhouse gas would be captured by coal-fired power plants, keeping it out of the atmosphere where it causes global warming. Rather, the captured gas would be pumped underground to increase pressure and increase production from the oilfields.
In total, the United States Bureau of Land Management has designated 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometers) of federal land for pipeline development under the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
Home Secretary David Bernhardt signed the plans last Friday, days before stepping down with the rest of President Donald Trump’s administration. The approval allows companies to begin submitting proposals for the construction of pipelines.
Wyoming officials, including Republican Gov. Mark Gordon, have been promoting carbon capture as a way to boost the state’s ailing coal mining industry.
Utilities nationwide have shifted away from coal-fired electricity in favor of cheaper, cleaner natural gas and renewables.
“The ability to have a CO2 delivery system, made possible by the pipeline corridor initiative, helps make CO2 commercially viable,” Gordon said in a statement Wednesday.
It remains to be seen whether a large carbon capture system for oil production is technically and economically feasible. One of two such systems in North America, the Petra Nova facility in Texas, has been offline since global oil prices fell last year.
The Petra Nova System moves carbon dioxide 130 kilometers from a power plant to an oil field in Southeast Texas. In southeast Saskatchewan, Canada, near the US border, the Boundary Dam carbon dioxide system connects a power plant to an oil field 65 kilometers away.
Energy markets are driving the development of carbon capture projects for petroleum development, said Matt Fry, Wyoming state project manager for the pipeline initiative.
“We’re just helping to inspire and provide a kind of bridge for people to help them move forward. Hopefully these federal incentives and future ones will help get the ball rolling and we’ll have projects on the ground, ”Fry said.
Environmental groups including the Western Watersheds Project have criticized the pipeline corridor plan, saying the pipelines would pass through the habitat of the sage-grouse, brown chicken-sized birds that spend most of their time in the water. ground.
Sage-Grouse numbers have declined dramatically over the past century, and much of their habitat in Wyoming is under developmental restrictions.
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