Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS), also referred to as CO2 Sequestration, is an important element to the global emissions reduction initiative. This technology involves the collection of CO2 from fuel combustion or other industrial processes, the transport of the gas via ship or pipeline, and its utilization for hydrocarbon production or other products or services, or storage within bounded deep underground geological formations.
CCUS in Wyoming is in the pre-permitting stage of development. Wyoming is one of only two states in the United States to receive primacy for Class VI wells from the USEPA. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) was given the primary enforcement authority for UIC Class VI wells.
There is a high level of interest and governmental support for energy, industrial and manufacturing industries with regard to future CCUS projects. Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon’s initiative prioritizes CCUS in Wyoming. For example, the Storing CO2 and Lowering Emissions (SCALE) Act is supported by Wyoming: this bill would sponsor infrastructure development necessary to transport CO2 from where it is captured to where it can be either utilized or stored.
Storing CO2 and Lowering Emissions (SCALE) Act (March 15, 2021)
Letter of Support for SCALE Act (March 19, 2021)
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) completed a CCUS study for Wyoming paying special attention to several Wyoming coal-fueled power plants. Retrofitting these power plants with CCUS technology could provide significant benefits, primarily allowing the continued use of coal as a national energy source. This study also highlights the existing infrastructure for CO2 transportation in Wyoming. Unlike most states, Wyoming is in a unique position to lead CCUS operations.
There are currently no Class VI wells in Wyoming; however, several projects are underway. The University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources is currently developing two CarbonSAFE projects. The Dry Fork Project involves the capture of CO2 from Basin Electric Power’s Dry Fork Station in Gillette, the transport through an existing CO2 pipeline network, and the sequestration or storage of carbon into suitable reservoirs within the immediate vicinity of the Dry Fork Station. The Rock Springs Uplift Project is investigating the feasibility of a commercial CCUS facility near the Jim Bridger Power Station and the potential for utilizing stacked storage reservoirs for maximum storage capacity. With financial support from the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, research for a Class VI application is currently being conducted.
The rules and regulations for Class VI wells are lengthy (WDEQ Rules & Regulations Chapter 24). For this reason, GGA has compiled a summary of requirements for Class VI WDEQ applications. Some of the requirements are very similar to Class I disposal well requirements. While a Class VI application has not been attempted to date in Wyoming, GGA has prepared many Class I applications, and much of the permitting process is similar.
Examples of Class VI permitting in Kansas and Illinois can be found here:
Kansas CO2 Sequestration Injection Project
Observations on Class VI Permitting: Lessons Learned and Guidance Available (Illinois Project)