IOGCC/SSEB Task Force Report the Need for National CO2 Pipeline Infrastructure

Oklahoma City – January 31, 2011 - In the United States, 85 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted, according to the U.S. EPA as the result of the combustion of fossil fuels for electricity generation, transportation, and industrial processes. Carbon capture and geologic storage (CCGS) is recognized as a viable means of reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. As CCGS projects are commercialized, a national pipeline infrastructure must be developed to connect sources of CO2 to potential underground storage locations. For this reason, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) and the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB) assembled regulators, policymakers, and industry representatives to form the Pipeline Transportation Task Force (PTTF) to research options for a future CO2 national pipeline system within the U.S.

"We won't sequester CO2 in any significant way, unless we know the realities of current CO2 storage, and the requirements to transport CO2 to areas in which it can be stored-----this report helps public officials and the public understand the current use and future challenges," Robert Harms, chairman, Pipeline Transportation Task Force.

The task force, formed in April 2009, recently released its final report, “A Policy, Legal, and Regulatory Evaluation of the Feasibility of a National Pipeline Infrastructure for the Transport and Storage of Carbon Dioxide.” In this report, the PTTF examines the legal and regulatory environment surrounding CO2 pipelines and transport.

The PTTF focused on identifying various pipeline regulatory and business development models and the opportunities and challenges associated with those models. While exploring the option for more centralized federal oversight of CO2 pipelines, the PTTF found that the current state-based regulatory system, which has overseen the development of approximately 4,000 miles of pipeline infrastructure, is sufficient in handling the CO2 transportation needs for the foreseeable future.

“I was honored to be part of such a team of such competent individuals. The concepts discussed and conclusions reached represent the best minds in the industry and will provide a roadmap for the build out of CO2 pipelines,” Darrick Eugene, consultant Pipeline Transportation Task Force.

The conclusions and recommendations of the report serve to reinforce the findings that the current level of regulatory oversight as appropriate and no additional federal regulation is required.

Link to Full Report online.

Link to Fact Sheet online.

The study was conducted under the auspices of the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB), a program tasked with determining the most suitable technologies, regulations, and infrastructure needs for carbon dioxide capture, transportation, and storage in the Southeast. The SECARB program is managed and administered by SSEB, encompasses 13 states, and includes a network of more than 100 stakeholders. The SECARB partners have successfully designed and operated four small-scale CCGS field tests in the Southeast and two large-volume projects are underway.

SECARB is one of seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSP) established by DOE in 2003. The RCSPs form a national network of more than 500 state agencies, universities, and private companies, spanning 43 states, three Native American Organizations, and four Canadian provinces. SECARB is funded by DOE through its National Energy Technology Laboratory and cost-sharing partners.

SSEB is a non-profit interstate compact organization created in 1960 whose 18-state membership includes governors, state legislators, and a Federal Representative appointed by the President of the United States. The Board's mission is to enhance economic development and the quality of life in the South through innovations in energy and environmental policies, programs, and technologies.

The IOGCC began its involvement with CCGS, or Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), as it is more commonly known, in July of 2002 when it convened --- with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) --- a meeting of state oil and natural gas regulators and state geologists in Alta, Utah. As a result of the conclusions reached at that meeting, the IOGCC formed its “Geological CO2 Sequestration Task Force” that in early 2005 produced a report that examined the technical, policy, and regulatory issues related to the safe and effective storage of CO2 in subsurface geological media (oil and natural gas fields, coal seams, and deep saline formations) for both enhanced hydrocarbon recovery and long-term CO2 storage. This report came to be known as the “Phase I” Report. Following this “scoping” report, the IOGCC set to work with its task force, which it renamed the “Carbon Capture and Geologic Storage Task Force”, to produce A Legal and Regulatory Guide for States and Provinces. The most significant component of the guide, which was released in September of 2007, was a Model CO2 Storage Statute and Model Rules and Regulations governing the storage of CO2 in geologic media and an explanation of those regulatory components.

For the past 75 years, the IOGCC, a multi-state government agency whose mission is to promote the conservation and efficient recovery of the nation’s domestic oil and natural gas resources while protecting health, safety and the environment, has grown to be the largest, and oldest state compact in the nation today.