Bowman County hosted a local public hearing Thursday (Feb. 6) for sections of a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline which will cut across southeastern Montana to connect drill sites north of Baker and in parts of Bowman and Slope counties in North Dakota.
According to the North Dakota Public Service Commission which held the hearing, the Denbury Green Pipeline-Montana, LLC, is proposing to construct an approximately 9.23 mile-long carbon dioxide pipeline with approximately 2.29 miles in Slope County and 6.94 miles located in Bowman County. The pipeline would be a 12-inch diameter pipeline with a maximum flow rate of 180 million cubic feet per day. The pipeline would transport carbon dioxide from a pipeline in Fallon County, Mont., to Denbury’s oil production facilities in Bowman. The project would provide for tertiary oil recovery from Denbury’s production wells through the injection of carbon dioxide into the oil reservoir with the goal to increase oil extraction. The estimated cost of the project is $9.2 million.
The pipeline would start in Montana and run in an easterly direction entering North Dakota in the southwestern corner of Slope County and ending at Denbury’s receiving facility in Bowman County, according to a release from the commission.
The pipeline route would enter North Dakota south of Highway 12 near Marmarth and then turn south.
If approved by the commission, the company has announced that construction would start in the summer and be finished by November.
Although the pipeline was supported by the audience, citing the opportunity for local jobs, one commissioner had some questions about leaks. PSC Commissioner Julie Fedorchak noted that 210 leaks were listed by an environmental impact statement.
A company spokesman, said that there is a difference with the carbon dioxide being piped along the route. He told the commissioners that any leaks would immediately vaporize when it leaves the pipeline.
According to Rusty Shaw, Denbury Resource’s Environmental Compliance manager, among the safety measures the company is taking will be making sure that local residents and officials have phone numbers to contact the company if they have any issues with the pipeline.
The four-hour hearing drew a positive response, ranging from county commissioners, to local business and labor officials.
One, Pamela Walker of the Laborer’s International Union of North America, said that while there is a good local labor force, sometimes shoddy contractors have been brought in and just walked away from the local landowners.
One of the Bowman County commissioners, Lynn Brackel, said that before the Bakken the area was the number one producer of oil in the state. The commission chair also said the project would allow the older well to become more productive again. The county commissioners had already approved the project, setting the stage for the PSC hearing in Bowman Lodge and Convention Center.
The final decision by the PSC will not be for several weeks.
The total pipeline would cover 17.77 miles from Fallon County in Montana to the company facilities south of Marmarth.