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Wyoming Asks BLM for Pipeline Rights-of-Way

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead on Thursday unveiled a state plan to establish pipeline corridors through federal lands. An application by the state has been submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to establish 1,150 miles of pipeline corridors.

As part of a state energy strategy, Mead said the Wyoming Pipeline Authority (WPA) submitted the plan to BLM in hopes that the approved corridors eventually will reduce permitting times and expedite the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) market in Wyoming, making carbon dioxide (CO2) available for use in EOR to stimulate production in some of the state's old oil fields.

WPA has designated its plan the "Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative (WPCI)," seeking to cross various federally managed lands in most of the state's counties. WPCI eventually would involve all of BLM's nine field offices in Wyoming.

"This plan identifies appropriate routes for pipelines," said Mead, who two years ago placed the corridor initiative idea on the WPA's agenda (see Daily GPI, May 2, 2012). "It establishes corridors, reduces delays and avoids a piecemeal approach to pipelines."

CO2 pipelines are the driver for the effort, which is aimed at taking the current patchwork of nine different BLM corridor designations and turning them into one, comprehensive statewide plan, the WPA head at the time told NGI. Mead reiterated this Thursday in announcing the BLM application, which can be found on the WPA website.

Mead and other state officials are attempting to address the fact that oil production has been declining in Wyoming for some time. This hurts the state's economy and job growth, and cuts revenues available to the state.

"Wyoming has large, economically significant oil reserves that are good candidates for EOR using CO2," Mead said.

CO2 currently is used in five Wyoming oilfields to assist in building additional oil recovery, a spokesperson for the governor said. The oil the CO2 helps produce is not recoverable through conventional production techniques.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed a rule to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants. Mead wants to have a pre-approved pipeline network that links the depleted oil fields with CO2 sources to assist the oil/gas industry in increasing the viability of a robust EOR market at the same time it also helps power generators reduce their overall CO2 emissions.

Mead said the latest application is part of a multi-year collaboration among the BLM, state and other federal agencies. "Wyoming's plan addresses future, long-term pipeline corridor needs in the state," the Mead spokesperson said.

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