The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has opened a year-long process on a proposal for an 1,150-mile statewide corridor that could lead to pipelines for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), as well as pipelines and facilities for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

The Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative (WPCI) would not authorize any new pipelines or construction, but it could amend several BLM Resource Management Plans across the state to analyze future specific proposals.

The scoping period for the WPCI marked the start of the environmental review, which the state said could unleash the potential of more than 500 reservoirs identified for their potential for EOR and CCUS, helping to mitigate sagging oil production and decreasing revenues in the nation’s largest coal-producing state.

The state originally proposed the concept under former Gov. Matt Mead and it then was proposed to BLM in 2014. It is supported by the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority (WIA) and the Petroleum Association of Wyoming (PAW).

PAW spokesperson Ryan McConnaughey said the potential for added oil revenue from EOR operations, estimated at 1.8 billion bbl, "could be a big step for the oil and gas industry here in Wyoming." Revenues from oil and gas may continue to decline, a "reality that Wyoming is facing."

Wyoming's WPCI Project Manager Matt Fry said the concept was first proposed to address concerns about how to deal with carbon dioxide (CO2) at a time when concerns over the future of the state's coal industry were beginning to loom large.

"We began looking at opportunities to use and store the CO2, along with continuing our development of coal," Fry said. "We came up with the idea of these pipeline corridors to transport CO2 to oilfields for EOR or structures for storage in geologic formations."

The WPCI has been funded by the Wyoming legislature for the past seven years, Fry told NGI's Shale Daily, and it is aimed at extending the life of the state's coal resources while helping the environment by using and capturing the CO2. By using and storing larger volumes of CO2 than are produced in the coal industry.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mark Gordon in his first proposed state budget issued this month alluded to the financial significance of Wyoming’s energy development. Gordon noted that "changes taking place in the energy industry will impact how we fund state government services next year and for every year after."