Two Birds, One Stone - Tallgrass Sees Trailblazer Conversion as Pathway to CO2 Market

Carbon-capture projects have begun to pick up steam in recent months, especially in the Midwest and Great Plains, with three major developments already taking shape and the potential for more. At the same time, the need to move natural gas east from the Rockies has declined over time and Tallgrass Energy Partners — a leading midstream player in that space — is looking for ways to make fuller use of its Rockies Express and Trailblazer gas pipelines. In today’s RBN blog, we look at an agreement between Tallgrass and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) to capture and sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from a corn-processing complex in Nebraska, how that deal relies on the planned conversion of the Trailblazer Pipeline from natural gas to CO2, thought to be the first of this scale, and why Tallgrass sees potential in carbon-capture projects across the region.

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) has been a popular topic in RBN’s blogs in recent months, as our Way Down in the Hole series has covered everything from the basics of CCS and the 45Q tax credit to different types of carbon-capture projects, and from the Houston CCS Innovation Zone to direct air capture. More recently, we’ve turned our attention to ethanol production, a significant contributor to CO2 emissions but one with more than its share of carbon-capture opportunities.

Pipeline Conversion

Tallgrass said May 18 that it had entered into an agreement with ADM that would pave the way for Tallgrass to capture CO2 from ADM’s corn-processing complex in Columbus, NE (yellow star in Figure 1), and transport it to Tallgrass’s planned Eastern Wyoming Sequestration Hub (orange oval) for permanent underground storage. Later that month, Tallgrass filed for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval to abandon 392 miles of its Trailblazer (pink line) from natural gas service in order to convert that segment to CO2 transportation service. The repurposed pipeline, which runs through Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska, would be capable of transporting more than 10 million tons per annum (MMtpa, 528 MMcf/d) of CO2 to a sequestration hub for permanent storage. Tallgrass believes it to be the first pipeline conversion of this scale in the U.S.

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