• US pipeline companies eye carbon dioxide transport as rising business opportunity

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

In the USA, oil and gas pipeline companies are reported to be eyeing CO2 pipelines as a major business opportunity to make up any shortfall in laying pipelines for hydrocarbon transport. In July, the federal government’s Council on Environmental Quality released a report which estimated that a carbon capture and storage industry large enough to meet the country’s 2050 net-zero goal would require something like 68,000 miles (109,400 km) of CO2 transport pipeline. This is comparable to the total length of liquid fuel pipe constructed in the USA from 2000 onwards, which covers the shale boom years. Such an amount of length over the next 20-30 years is obviously enticing to midstream companies, particularly as their financiers are increasingly expecting greener business. As the FT article notes, CO2 pipelines require thicker walls than typical oil and gas pipelines, making the conversion of existing infrastructure difficult. However, one would imagine that easements for existing pipelines might in some cases be able to accommodate additional infrastructure. It is business that midstream companies are keen on obtaining; the Alerian MLP index, which tracks pipeline partnerships, has fallen ~43% over the past five years. Carbon capture and storage enjoys bipartisan support within the USA, giving cause for hope for those businesses – an for the effort to mitigate climate change.