IOGCC taskforce issues CO2 sequestration proposals

Nick Snow
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 10 -- US states and Canadian provinces should play a critical part as a carbon dioxide sequestration regulatory regime develops, a new Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission report recommends.

States and provinces already have 30 years of experience regulating CO2 used in enhanced oil recovery, an IOGCC task force noted in preparing the report.

The group also recommends that CO2 remain a commodity covered by state laws and not be classified as a waste or pollutant. "State laws protect resources and maximize recovery. The IOGCC merely is saying that CO2 should have the same designation. Classifying CO2 as a waste would limit CCGS [carbon capture and geological storage] development," said Arkansas Oil & Gas Commission Director Lawrence E. Bengal, who led the task force.

IOGCC formed the group in 2002 in response to growing governmental concern worldwide over the prospect of global climate change fueled by increased CO2 releases into the atmosphere, according to IOGCC Executive Director Christine Hansen. That concern is leading to examination of methods to decrease such emissions, she explained.

"One promising option is through carbon sequestration, specifically CO2 geological sequestration—capturing carbon dioxide before it is released into the atmosphere and storing it in underground geologic formations," Hansen said.

States' existing enhanced recovery regulations covering the injection of CO2 into mature oil fields are likely to provide the best working model for CGGS, the report concluded. "The states' experience over the last 30 years with this and with natural gas storage provides an excellent framework," said Bengal.

"That's a key point," added Hansen. "We have regulations already in the state to deal with this. Admittedly, many may not have been written when carbon sequestration was an issue. But the enforcement experience is there."

IOGCC has extended the life of the taskforce, which also included representatives from the US Department of Energy, regional carbon sequestration partnerships, the Association of State Geologists, IOGCC member states and international affiliate provinces, and other interested parties.

The group hopes to participate in the program's second phase, which DOE recently announced, IOGCC Washington representative Kevin Bliss said. "Our goal was to get in front of the issue with information and a possible framework," Bengal said.

Contact Nick Snow at nsnow@cox.net.

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