Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming and the the Canadian province of Saskatchewan province signed an agreement Friday to combine their efforts in carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) research that is critical to their individual oil and natural gas producing jurisdictions.

The leaders of the four jurisdictions signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the Western Governors' Association (WGA) meeting in Arizona articulating a mutual desire to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while aiming to improve "strategic and diverse energy production." The states and province are to share knowledge, policy and regulatory expertise, according to the MOU.

In 2015, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock stepped up a joint federal and state push for more CCS to enhance carbon dioxide (CO2)-driven enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the fossil fuel producing regions.

A 14-state effort co-convened by Mead and Bullock identified "several opportunities" to increase CO2 capture and use in EOR. CO2 capture efforts applied to the EOR process are seen as key to providing a long-term, low-carbon path to the production of fossil energy resources, according to a report issued in late 2016.

In signing the MOU, the officials stressed the global importance of finding key CCS technologies with an estimated 1,600 coal-fired power plants planned or under construction in 62 nations.

The MOU cites CCUS as a key technology in global efforts to reduce GHG emissions. China has 922,000 MW of coal-fired generation in place.

Mead said Wyoming had done groundbreaking research, and said the School of Energy Resources Integrated Test Center and Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute is working on a first-of-its-kind project to develop statewide pipeline corridors that advance CCUS efforts.

Wall also called his province a world leader in advancing CCUS technology, pointing to the Boundary 3 project underway by SaskPower, the world's first commercial power plant with a “fully integrated post-combustion carbon capture system…”