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State Regulatory Framework Will Most Likely Result in Robust CO2 Pipeline System, New Study Says

February 1, 2011 - 12:00pm


Washington, DC - A private sector model with a state rather than Federal-based regulatory framework is the approach that will "most likely result in a robust CO2 [carbon dioxide] pipeline system" in the United States, according to a new report developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL).

However, a Federal role that "includes incentives to encourage the private construction of CO2 pipelines" would be an important factor in moving the concept forward, the study says.

The report, A Policy, Legal, and Regulatory Evaluation of the Feasibility of a National Pipeline Infrastructure for the Transport and Storage of Carbon Dioxide, analyzes a potential pipeline infrastructure that would transport CO2 from large point sources, such as power plants, to designated underground storage locations. Constructing a viable pipeline network is a key component for commercializing and deploying carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, considered by many experts to be a promising option for helping to reduce the buildup of atmospheric CO2 due to human activity.

The Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB) contracted with the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) to develop the report, which was undertaken by the DOE-funded Pipeline Transportation Task Force (PTTF). The information will significantly bolster commercialization efforts by analyzing current CO2 storage situations and identifying what will be necessary to transport CO2 to storage areas.

Composed of regulators, policymakers, and industry representatives, and led by IOGCC and the Southern States Energy Board, the PTTF is focused on overcoming the transportation hurdles associated with CO2 underground storage. These hurdles include legal, regulatory, economic, environmental, and educational issues, all of which could be potential roadblocks as carbon sequestration projects move toward commercialization. The pipeline report addresses these topics and offers comprehensive guidance on barriers and opportunities for the wide-scale construction of a CO2 pipeline network to enhance the Nation’s carbon sequestration efforts.

The IOGCC is 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.

The Southern States Energy Board is a non-profit interstate compact organization created in 1960 whose 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.

SECARB is one of seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships established by DOE in 2003. The partnerships 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. Managed and administered by the Southern States Energy Board, SECARB encompasses 13 states and includes a network of more than 100 stakeholders. The SECARB partners have successfully designed and operated four small-scale geologic sequestration field tests in the southeastern United States, and two large-volume projects are underway.