An energy company is seeking federal approval to build a pipeline in eastern Montana that would transport the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide for use in oil production along the North Dakota border.
The $150 million pipeline would begin near the Wyoming border and stretch 110 miles to the Cedar Creek Anticline, an aging oil field near Baker, Montana, Denbury Resources spokesman John Mayer said.
Carbon dioxide is considered a prime contributor to climate change, but it also can be used to breathe life into old oil fields. Companies pump the gas deep underground to push out more oil from tapped-out reserves.
Cedar Creek Anticline has potential reserves of 260 million to 290 million barrels of oil, Mayer said. Denbury, based in Plano, Texas, specializes in using carbon dioxide for oil recovery with projects completed or pending in Texas, Alabama, Wyoming, Mississippi and Louisiana.
In the Rockies, the company obtains carbon dioxide as a byproduct from a pair of natural gas processing plants in Wyoming — ConocoPhillips' Lost Cabin plant near the small town of Lysite, and ExxonMobil's Shute Creek plant near LaBarge.
A second Denbury pipeline proposal would link the Shute Creek site to an existing pipeline network that extends into Montana. The 250-mile line would cost about $400 million, according to the company.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on the Montana proposal through Nov. 3.
Denbury has not released a construction timeline or specifics on the volume of carbon dioxide that would be transported.
Bureau of Land Management spokesman David Abrahams said further details on the company's application would not be released except under a freedom of information request.