INGAA Foundation considers CCS pipeline issues

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 6 -- The INGAA Foundation Inc. has released the first study of possible pipeline carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) facilities requirements under a national mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction program.

Its major conclusion was that, while there are not significant technological challenges associated with pipelines transporting carbon dioxide, threshold questions associated with business and regulatory structures must be answered before there is likely to be considerable capital invested in creating such a pipeline network.

The goal of the Feb. 25 report by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America Foundation was to provide a context for analyzing the size, configuration, costs, timing, commercial structure, and regulation of US and Canadian pipeline systems, which likely will be needed to transport captured CO2.

"While CCS technology has received a lot of attention, the challenges associated with building the necessary transportation network have yet to be fully analyzed," said INGAA Pres. Donald F. Santa Jr., who also serves as INGAA Foundation's president.

"Some have suggested that the nation's natural gas transmission pipelines represent a model for what a CO2 pipeline network might look like because the North American gas pipeline network interconnects thousands of gas distribution companies, power plants and industrial facilities with multiple gas-producing basins. It made sense for the INGAA Foundation to draw on the collective wisdom of the gas pipeline industry in examining analogues that might be useful in constructing a framework for a CO2 pipeline system," he said.

Pipelines needed
To transport captured CO2 by 2030, as much as 15,000-66,000 miles of transmission and distribution pipelines will be needed, depending on how much CO2 must be sequestered and the degree to which enhanced oil recovery is involved, the study forecast. The upper end of the forecast range is similar to the miles of existing US crude oil and products pipelines, it noted.

It added that, while there are no significant technical barriers to building the forecast pipeline mileage, public policy and regulation are the major challenges to implementing CCS projects. Public policy questions will need to address key questions about industry structure, government support of early development, regulatory models, and operating rules, the study suggested.

It said the CCS process has three steps: CO2 capture and compression, pipeline transportation, and underground storage. "While many of the underlying technologies involved in CO2 capture are mature, their use in the circumstances and scale needed for CCS carries considerable technological and commercial risks," the report noted in its executive summary.

The capture and compression stage and the storage stage are the major cost components, it said. "The capture component of CCS is the most technologically challenging and uncertain," it said. Depending on the quality of the CO2 stream, capture costs range from zero to more than $50/tonne. Compression costs add $9-15/tonne, it said.

Transportation of CO2 by pipeline is a mature technology and should not change significantly in the next 20 years, it added.

Suitable storage
Geologic storage costs vary, depending on whether the site is an EOR operation, where costs are negative, or is one of various types of underground rock formations where storage costs are a few dollars per tonne, the report said. Depleted gas and oil reservoirs, saline aquifers, coal beds, and shales are geologic formations suitable for CO2 storage, it indicated.

"Despite little experience in large-scale geologic storage of CO2 in the United States, developments at the Sleipner [field] in the North Sea, In Salah in Algeria, and Weyburne in Saskatchawan have been successful," it continued.

Estimated geologic storage capacity in the Lower 48 states equals more than 450 years at recent US GHG emissions rates, according to the report. Of the estimated 3,375 billion tonnes of storage capacity, deep saline reservoirs offer the most (2,900 billion tonnes) followed by depleted oil and gas fields (110 billion), shale formations (107 billion), deep saline-filled basalt (100 billion), coal and coalbed methane formations (51 billion), and enhanced oil recovery (17 billion).

Canada's Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin has a partially estimated geologic storage capacity of more than 100 years at recent GHG emissions rates, the report said. "The full geologic storage capacity in Canada may be about 2,000 years equivalent," it said.

Different proposals
The study noted that "well over a dozen" GHG control proposals have been considered by the US Congress. Most take a multisector, market-based approach, using either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system to limit and regulate many or all US economic segments. The most recent proposals target a 60-80% reduction in US GHG emissions by 2050.

The report said the bills differ on whether the point of regulation would be upstream or downstream, and which entities might be covered or exempted in emission volume terms.

"The widespread application of CCS will depend on the technology's maturity, costs, volume potential, regulatory framework, environmental impacts, public perception of safety, and other mitigation options," it said in its executive summary.

The study said that many observers who were interviewed for the report expect early CCS projects to be situated primarily where suitable injection sites can be found near the CO2 source so that relatively short, dedicated pipelines need be built. "Some such projects may be undertaken by a regulated utility and will be under the jurisdiction of the relevant regulatory commission," it said.

The report said that several observers suggested that as more CCS projects are developed incorporating power plants where no suitable storage site is nearby, projects will increasing connect multiple plants to storage sites over longer distances.

"The sharing of pipeline capacity among plants can help reduce the network mileage on average (averaged per CO2 source). Early and late projects may have the same average mileage per source," it added.

The report presented estimated costs for constructing new pipelines, and for compressors and pumps for those pipelines under high and low CCS cases. It also compares the existing CO2 pipeline framework with those of oil and gas pipelines, and the pros and cons of the federal government regulating CO2 pipelines.

Contact Nick Snow at

Related Articles

Origin plans Otway gas pipeline

09/08/2015 Origin Energy Ltd., Sydney, has submitted plans for environmental approval of its proposed natural gas pipeline associated with development of near...

AER permits Nexen to operate 40 utility lines at Long Lake

09/08/2015 Alberta Energy Regulator has approved resumption of operations on 40 pipelines related to utilities at the Long Lake oil sands project operated by ...

A North Dakota update

09/07/2015 When it comes to reporting what's going on in US oil and gas producing states, even the dimmest Washington, DC, reporter periodically remembers to ...

Oil pipelines lead way in strong 2014

09/07/2015 US oil pipeline operators' net incomes increased more than 37% in 2014, reaching a new record of more than $9.5 billion on revenues of roughly $19....

Infrastructure issues slow first-half 2015 ethylene production

09/07/2015 In this era of tumult and constant change in the US petroleum sector, the mundane matters of infrastructure served as a reminder that a focus on gr...

Egyptian treasure

09/07/2015 Disclosure of what might be a supergiant gas field off Egypt further complicates the geopolitical tangle confronting development of an expanding hy...

Gas discovery offshore Egypt rivals Mediterranean giants

09/07/2015 Eni SPA expects accelerated development of what it describes as a "supergiant gas discovery" at its deepwater Zohr prospect offshore Egyp...

EIA: Benefits of lifting US crude export ban most evident if output rises

09/06/2015 A study released Sept. 1 by the US Energy Information Administration was apparent cause for celebration for several oil and gas industry groups, wh...

Second segment of Aegis pipeline complete

09/03/2015 Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPP) has completed construction of the Aegis pipeline segment connecting Beaumont, Tex., with Lake Charles, La.
White Papers

Definitive Guide to Cybersecurity for the Oil & Gas Industry

In the Oil and Gas industry, there is no single adversary and no single threat to the information tech...

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Better Data, Better Analytics, Better Decisions

When Tue, Oct 27, 2015

The Oil & Gas industry has large amounts of data stored in multiple systems which are purpose built for certain tasks. However, good decisions require insights based upon the data in all of these systems. These systems in turn do not talk to each other. So the process of analyzing data, gaining insights, and making decisions is a slow one and often a flawed one. Good decisions require accurate analytics and accurate analytics require superior/sustainable data quality and governance. This webinar focuses on:

  • The importance of data quality and governance
  • How technological advances are making data quality and governance sustainable in order to get the accurate analytics to make solid decisions.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Seven Lakes Technologies and Noah Consulting.


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected