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State Groups Say CCS Projects Languish Awaiting Fed Permits for Injection Wells
A coalition of business groups is calling on federal officials to expedite applications for carbon dioxide (CO2) injection wells, otherwise known as Class VI wells, citing frustration to advance carbon capture projects.
Eight groups from Illinois, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan requesting faster approval of state primacy applications for Class VI injection wells. The wells are used to store CO2.
“Our members are collectively pursuing billions of dollars in new investments in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), which will provide secure, good paying jobs and generate new revenue streams for communities across the country,” the letter stated.
Signatories included the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association; New Mexico Chamber of Commerce; Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council; the Texas Economic Development Council and Greater Houston Partnership; and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association.
CCS “has been given full support from the Biden administration,” the groups noted. However, “the permitting process for CO2 injection wells…has been stagnant since the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was approved.
“Similarly, states requesting primacy over Class VI wells permitting have faced significant delays in their applications before the EPA, despite its ability to speed up the deployment of CCS.”
EPA has primary authority to permit Class VI wells. Many states, though, want authority to approve them to advance various infrastructure to capture CO2. To date, only North Dakota and Wyoming have been granted primacy by EPA to permit the injection wells.
Earlier this month Louisiana business groups asked EPA for answers on their primacy application, which was submitted more than a year ago. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards similarly sent a letter expressing frustration that was delaying investment in the state.
Four states have pending primacy applications, “with at least eight more expressing interest in applying,” the letter stated. More than 30 proposed permits “remain under review by EPA, some of which have been in the queue for years.
“Zero permits have been granted since the passage of the IRA – widely heralded as the most ambitious climate legislation in U.S. history – or the 2021 Infrastructure Act, which established $50 million to assist states in the primacy process.”
The Biden administration has advanced support for CCS projects through the IRA. Earlier this month the administration earmarked $2.52 billion to accelerate investments in CCS and carbon transport. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm also has encouraged carbon storage projects to advance.
“We join the growing, bipartisan chorus of stakeholders and policymakers who are calling attention to this lack of movement that is obstructing needed investments in CCS,” the letter stated.
“Certainty and predictability are key factors businesses and producers need to make definitive investments in CCS technology, and that starts with a reasonable timeline for primacy and permitting decisions.”
There are dozens of CCS and direct air capture (DAC) projects on the drawing board in North America. DAC sucks up CO2 emissions and stores them.
Bayou Bend CCS LLC is positioning itself to be one of the largest carbon capture projects of its kind in the world after securing 140,000 acres southeast of Houston. The CCS project had 40 acres offshore Beaumont and Port Arthur before adding 100,000 acres onshore in Chambers and Jefferson counties, according to Chevron U.S.A Inc.
Chevron has a half-stake in the project and is operator. It is partnering with Carbonvert and Talos Energy Inc., which each hold 25% interest.
Another project also planned for the Texas coast was proposed by ExxonMobil, which is spearheading a $100 billion CCS project to pull emissions from the industrial complex along the Houston Ship Channel.
Talos separately is working on several potential CCS projects for the Gulf Coast in partnership with UK expert Storegga Geotechnologies Ltd. and Chevron. And Enterprise and Chevron are evaluating possible carbon sequestration projects for the Gulf Coast and in the Midcontinent.
Occidental Petroleum Corp. (Oxy) has a DAC project underway in the Permian Basin. It also has some CCS facilities planned, including with Enterprise Products Partners LP, for a CO2 transportation and sequestration hub that would serve oil and gas operators in the Greater Houston area. Another between Oxy and Energy Transfer LP includes a CO2 pipeline network from point source emitters in the Lake Charles, LA, area through Oxy’s Magnolia sequestration site in Allen Parish.
In addition, the Project Cypress DAC Hub has been proposed by Battelle. The hub would be deployed in southwestern Louisiana. DAC technology providers Climeworks and Heirloom are working with Battelle to advance the facility, and emissions would be stored by Gulf Coast Sequestration
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