Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead on Tuesday kicked off what he hopes will be a public discussion on the establishment of a network of carbon dioxide (CO2) pipeline corridors that ultimately could be used to site all other types of energy pipelines, including natural gas, oil and liquids.

The immediate goal is to site the CO2 lines to boost the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations of declining wells in the state's oil patch. Mead has placed the proposal on the agenda for the Wyoming Pipeline Authority's (WPA) meeting May 15 in Casper, WY.

Mead envisions a statewide network of CO2 pipeline corridors within federal land boundaries in the state. "Establishing pre-approved corridors would protect open spaces and minimize environmental impacts," a spokesperson for the governor said.

Mead stressed that CO2 capture and storage have the potential to advance energy technology and improve air quality, and in addition, CO2-driven steam flooding is "a proven method of EOR."

CO2 pipelines are the driver for this effort to take the current patchwork of nine different Bureau of Land Management (BLM) corridor designations and turn them into one, comprehensive statewide plan, Brian Jeffries, WPA executive director, told NGI.

Jeffries will make the presentation at the May 15 meeting, to which BLM representatives will be invited. Eventually, Wyoming would hope to make a formal application for one statewide plan to BLM, he said. After it is discussed at the meeting the presentation will be posted on the WPA website.

The corridors are intended to "significantly shorten" permitting time for future pipeline projects, the spokesperson said. In turn, the streamlined permitting would allow for more EOR to move ahead in the declining production wells.

Mead said he will work on proposed corridors with BLM, and any proposal would go through public vetting. It would get public review and open public comment. Eventually, it could become a "record of decision" to update each Resource Management Plan of the nine BLM offices throughout Wyoming.

"There is currently no consistent statewide plan for CO2 pipelines," Mead said. At present, pipeline corridors on federal land are determined separately by the individual BLM offices throughout the state. Mead said he wants a "well thought out and laid out statewide network," saying it would serve as a model for other projects and an economic tool for the state.

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