Burgum: ND a ‘geological jackpot’ for carbon storage

State News

FIle: Canadian carbon capture/storage facility. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press, via AP, File)

North Dakota is a “geological jackpot” when it comes to the promise of carbon capture and storage, according to Gov. Doug Burgum.

Burgum addressed the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck today, thanking oil and gas operators for their positive impact and resiliency through the COVID-19 pandemic. He also challenged the industry to help make North Dakota a carbon-neutral state by the end of the decade.

Burgum said North Dakota has a storage capacity for 250 billion tons of carbon dioxide – nearly 50 times the United States’ annual energy-related carbon dioxide output. He noted out-of-state ethanol companies have already expressed interest in storing CO2 in North Dakota.

“Of the states, North Dakota is among the best positioned to help our country and our world transition in an economically feasible way to a carbon-constrained future while providing reliable, resilient and affordable energy,” Burgum said, adding a longer-term goal would be to create a vision for how North Dakota could become the nation’s first “carbon-negative state.”

The governor also highlighted the promise of carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCUS) initiatives such as Project Tundra; the use of injected carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery; efforts to store carbon from ethanol plants in underground formations in North Dakota; best management practices in agriculture to store carbon in soil and rangeland; and other innovative projects and practices that can help North Dakota reach carbon-neutral status by 2030.

The governor also pointed to several bills passed by the North Dakota Legislature aimed at creating conditions favorable to developing a carbon capture and storage industry in the state:

  • House Bill 1452 allocates $25 million to create a Clean Sustainable Energy Fund to support low-emission technology projects and help provide a long-term, viable path forward for the state’s critical energy industry.
  • Senate Bill 2014, the North Dakota Industrial Commission budget, includes $9.5 million to study the feasibility of underground salt cavern storage in North Dakota.
  • Senate Bill 2065 creates a regulatory framework for underground salt cavern and natural gas storage, presenting an opportunity to reduce flaring.
  • Senate Bill 2328 grants a tax credit of $0.75 per million BTUs of flared gas captured by an oil well flare mitigation system.
  • Senate Bill 2152 adds geologic storage of carbon dioxide to the sales and use tax exemption.
  • Senate Bill 2206 allows utilities to recover costs for carbon capture.

Burgum credited the oil and gas industry for contributing to North Dakota’s growth over the last decade. According to numbers from the 2020 U.S. Census, North Dakota grew by 106,503 residents to a record population of 779,094, with the nation’s fourth-highest growth rate at 15.9%.

North Dakota’s daily oil production has stayed at over 1 million barrels a day since July 2020 and the state remains the nation’s No. 2 oil producer.

More than 2,500 people have registered for the three-day conference, which began Tuesday at the Bismarck Event Center and is co-hosted by the North Dakota Geologic Survey and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources.

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