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CO2 Pipelines - The Next Big Opportunity?



With increasing attention on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as a primary cause of climate change, there is growing interest in carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) as a mitigating strategy. The drive for "net-zero" carbon emission over the next 20 - 30 years will require both reducing discharges from combustion through carbon capture, and removing as much CO2 from the atmosphere as is discharged through direct air capture. Technologies for both types of carbon capture are advancing rapidly, and underground storage is readily available.

The "missing link" is the pipeline network to move captured CO2 - which becomes a liquid at 1,800 psi  from the point of capture to underground storage or to beneficial uses such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR). A recent Department of Energy (DOE) study estimates that at least 50,000 miles of new CO2 pipelines will be needed over the next 20 years to implement CCUS "at scale" in the United States. To realize this potential, new Federal policies must be put in place providing both financial incentives and regulatory certainty for capture, transmission and storage infrastructure.

As we move from today's early limited demonstration projects to full-scale implementation, CCUS promises to be not only a significant opportunity for midstream infrastructure investment, but also to help keep natural gas a viable major component of our power generation energy mix indefinitely.

Beginning with this top-level overview, we will provide an ongoing series of analyses of the key aspects of CCUS as they relate to opportunities in infrastructure investment, along with information about trends and ongoing progress. We will also allocate significant focus and effort to push for the appropriate implementing legislation and regulations in Washington, and keep you informed of progress.

A campaign of this significance and potential will need lots of industry outreach to legislators and regulators, and that means we will be asking members to get involved at key points in the process. We also ask you keep your eye out for information that will help power our pro-CCUS messages, and help us build a center for knowledge about CCUS technology and infrastructure. This goal is to help members better understand and plan for this new and exciting area of opportunity.

In a near future message we will provide a synopsis of the new DOE CCUS study that lays out the pathways to at-scale implementation and the potential regulatory and financial incentives that will make it possible. Stay tuned.


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