The US Oil and Gas pipeline sector is seeking for innovative ways to put steel in the ground and transport carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels. Climate activists who oppose pipeline developments as infrastructure that locks in greenhouse gas emissions have clashed with the midstream energy sector. Wall Street is on the industry to demonstrate how it will adjust to lower-carbon needs.
Pipeline operators are responding by touting their ability to serve as a link in carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems, which trap CO2 emissions in underground reservoirs and keep them out of the environment. CO2 would be transported from industrial flues to reservoirs via pipelines. The United States already has around 5,150 miles (8,300 kilometres) of CO2 pipes. The network is little in comparison to the country’s vast network of Oil and Gas pipelines, yet it is the world’s largest.
Steven Kean, chief executive of Kinder Morgan, said, “It’s hard to see how climate objectives are met without pretty widespread carbon capture and sequestration. We think we’ve got the expertise on the pipeline side of it.” They’re typically found in the Permian Basin oilfields of west Texas, where CO2 is injected into wells to force resistant crude oil reserves to release. The money comes from selling the gas and collecting a $35 federal tax credit for each tonne of carbon buried.
However, future growth will be contingent on significantly greater adoption. CO2 emissions from emitters such as power stations, cement factories, and oil and biofuel refineries would be sent to underground sites hundreds of kilometres distant. The ability to store and move a molecule, which is, of course, our primary business, is a “fundamental feature” of the CCS industry, according to François Poirier, CEO of pipeline company TC Energy.