Tallgrass Energy president shares carbon capture opportunities in Wyoming during convention
During the Wyoming Natural Resource Rendezvous Convention and Trade Show at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper Dec. 5-8, Tallgrass Energy Segment President Kyle Quackenbush spoke with attendees regarding to carbon capture and sequestration opportunities in Wyoming.
Privately-owned, Kansas-based Tallgrass Energy was established in 2012 and has roughly 900 employees across 14 states. Predominately a Rockies-focused company, their primary asset locations are in Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas.
“We operate both natural gas infrastructure as well as crude oil pipelines,” mentioned Quackenbush. “In Wyoming, we also have some natural gas processing infrastructure. We have water handling facilities and disposal – so, we really handle the whole gamut of what we call the midstream energy, logistic space today.”
Carbon capture and sequestration is the process of removing carbon dioxide from emissions sources, such as burning gas, oil, coal or biomass or from the fermentation process associated with biofuel production. The CO2 is captured before it enters the atmosphere, transported to an underground storage location and permanently sequestered in a carbon pool.
He continued to share Tallgrass Energy’s primary business has historically been natural gas and crude oil pipelines, but they are looking to perform the same services and functions for new commodities in relation to carbon capture and sequestration.
“For Tallgrass, this is primarily concentrated in two areas – hydrogen related development and CO2 related projects,” he said.
He noted through funding with the Wyoming Energy Authority, the company is working on developing a sequestration hub in southeast Wyoming through a project called the Trailblazer Pipeline project.
The Trailblazer Pipeline runs from Cheyenne to Beatrice, Neb., where it currently connects with interstate gas pipelines serving the Midwest.
According to Tallgrass Energy’s webpage, the company is working on advancing its project to convert its Trailblazer Pipeline to a CO2 transportation service, establishing an approximately 400-mile CO2 pipeline to serve as the backbone of a regional CO2 transportation system.
The project has the potential to capture, transport and permanently sequester over 10 million tons of CO2 per year from industries in Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming.
“Through this project we’re looking to remove this pipeline from its natural gas service and use it instead for CO2 service. This will create the backbone system allowing us to capture CO2 from emission sources on the east side of Nebraska – whether it’s coal-fired power plants or ethanol plants – and transport it to the western side of the state into Wyoming where the geology is good for sequestration,” explained Quackenbush.
From a CO2 perspective, the project looks to reduce the emissions of the equivalence of two million cars per year and is expected to be in service mid- to late-2024.
“We’re not giving up access to these markets in relation to natural gas service, we’re just making better use of this Trailblazer Pipeline capacity and CO2 service,” he said. “By utilizing Trailblazer, we’ll be able to get CO2 to areas where we can sequester.”
Carbon capture and sequestration process
Quackenbush noted there is favorable geology in the state of Wyoming. There are many formations containing salt water and are not hydrocarbon bearing, making them ideal rock formations for sequestration.
“When looking at carbon capture and sequestration, we’re taking a slightly different approach,” he mentioned. “Instead of putting it into the ground, having CO2 come up with hydrocarbons and then recycling it, we’re looking to inject CO2 into these rock formations, which will dissipate and diffuse through the formation.”
He shared some are concerned with the potential interaction with aquifers and drinking water. He reaffirmed the company will be injecting CO2 8,000 to 9,000 feet below the surface, and the company is going through an extensive permitting process through the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“We have to be able to demonstrate CO2 is going to stay where we say it’s going to stay, before we even have the right to drill into these injection wells,” he said. “This is a years-long process in development.”
In addition to the permitting process and sequestration, the company also has to have long-term monitoring plans and meet liability obligations.
Tallgrass Energy looks to have multiple wells and containment zones to ensure there isn’t any CO2 migration.
“One of the benefits of the Trailblazer Pipeline is the fact we have an existing pipeline infrastructure we can convert versus building entirely new,” he mentioned.
Tallgrass is in the process of conducting outreach with landowners regarding their existing easements. The company filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on May 27, 2022 for its plan to decommission its existing gas service on the Trailblazer line and move the gas to its REX pipeline system.
Comments on the Trailblazer Conversion Project on the Federal Register closed on Aug. 10, 2022, but the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will still accept comments, according to Tallgrass Energy.
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.