Railroad Commission Adopts Carbon Storage Rules

12/02/2010

Austin, TX ––The three Railroad Commissioners Tuesday adopted new rules relating to the underground storage of man-made carbon dioxide for facilities that plan to store CO2 not associated with enhanced oil recovery operations.

The rules adopted implement Senate Bill 1387, passed by the 81st Legislature and they amend the Texas Water Code and the Texas Natural Resources Code to provide for the implementation of projects involving the capture, injection, sequestration, or geologic storage of carbon dioxide. The purpose of the proposed rule is to ensure that best practices are used by any company engaged in the business of injecting CO2 into underground formations for the purpose of long-term storage.

Texas’ rules provide a framework to allow the state to lead the nation in developing a market approach to carbon dioxide management. The rules include requirements for applications, fees, geologic site characterization, permit issuance, construction, operation, testing, monitoring and closure to ensure the protection of water, mineral resources as well as public health and safety.

Chairman Victor Carrillo said, “As an undisputed world energy leader, Texas is uniquely qualified to undertake this critical task in defining the evolution of our energy future. And we have in Texas some of the best geology in the nation for large-volume CO2 sequestration.”

Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones said, “Our agency has more than 35 years of history in regulating CO2 sequestration, as the Railroad Commission has been responsible for overseeing CO2 injections to enhance the recovery of oil since 1973 in West Texas. So it’s only fitting that the Commission leads the way into the next generation of energy solutions.”

Commissioner Michael L. Williams said, "I recently returned from China, the country reportedly leading the way in the development of new energy technologies. From what I saw, I have no doubt that Texas - through free market, private sector collaboration - will be on the top of the list when it comes to actually accelerating the global commercialization and deployment of advanced clean energy technologies."

The new rules can be view at the following link, under Chapter 5 Carbon Dioxide: http://www.rrc.texas.gov/rules/proposed.php

The Railroad Commission rules are consistent with the new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules, which were finalized on Nov. 22, 2010.

Commission rulemaking for carbon storage for facilities that plan to use CO2 for enhanced oil recovery is scheduled to begin this month.