John L. Graves
William W. Vail, Jr.
April 20, 2023
There have been several announcements in recent weeks of significant carbon dioxide sequestration hub projects leasing huge swaths of land with the capacity to store billions of metric tons of CO2.
Bayou Bend CCS LLC, the Talos/Chevron joint venture, has expanded its capacity with the acquisition of nearly 100,000 acres onshore in Chambers and Jefferson counties, Texas, which served to increase its CO2 storage capacity to over 1 billion metric tons. Occidental Petroleum’s subsidiary, 1PointFive, announced leasing over 55,000 acres in southeast Texas for a hub with planned capacity of 1.2 billion metric tons of CO2.
Not every CO2 emitter desiring to capture and sequester their carbon will be near huge storage hubs like those planned by Talos and Oxy, or economically within reach of CO2 pipeline infrastructure.
Can small carbon dioxide sequestration projects be economic?
We believe the answer is yes, small carbon dioxide sequestration projects can be economic. This will depend upon a variety of factors including location, scale, geography, geology, regulations, tax incentives, and the markets for CO2 and carbon credits.
Here are a few ways in which small carbon sequestration projects can be economic:
An ideal situation for a CO2 emitter of is for its plant to be situated over a suitable saline aquifer, thus avoiding costly construction of a transportation network to connect its CO2 to a third-party sequesterer. The cost to transport CO2 via pipeline is dependent upon the volume to be transported and the distance, and if a new line is to be built, permitting, right-of-way, construction and community relations costs. Capital costs to transport 200,000 metric tons of CO2 per year a distance of 100 miles was estimated in 2021 to be between $3.00 and $11.00 per ton (2019 dollars).
Converting natural gas lines for use in transporting carbon dioxide over short distances may be feasible, and such a line exists in Denbury’s system in Mississippi. Unfortunately, converting natural gas pipelines for CO2 usage is not practical for transporting significant quantities of CO2 over long distances due to the greater pipe thickness required for the higher operating pressures needed to keep CO2 in a transportable supercritical state.
Overall, the key to making small carbon sequestration projects economic is to carefully consider the unique characteristics of the project and the local context, and to explore a range of strategies for reducing costs and accessing funding and incentives.
 “Bayou Bend expands CCS project with onshore Texas acreage,” Oil & Gas Journal. March 6, 2023.
 “Oxy’s 1PointFive leases acreage for planned CCS Hub in southeast Texas,” Oil & Gas Journal. March 3, 2023.
 Smith, et al, “The cost of CO2 transport and storage in global integrated assessment modeling,”International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Vol. 109, July 2021.