CO2 has been transported safely by pipeline for decades. As of 2023, there were approximately 5,200 miles of pipelines carrying CO2 in operation in North America. However, to enable the expansion of the use of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), experts anticipate our region will need more than a ten-fold increase in the size of the CO2 network.
ExxonMobil Pipeline Company is already in the process of building new CO2 pipelines that will transport captured CO2 emissions that would have been released into the air to specially designated storage areas where the CO2 will be permanently stored deep underground.
Building new CO2 pipelines will lead to long-term benefits for our environment and local communities, our energy industry and our nation.
About carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless gas and is everywhere. Humans exhale it. Plants live on it. It gives soft drinks their fizz. In addition to it being a naturally occurring gas, it is also created when we burn oil or natural gas to generate electricity or power manufacturing plants.
CO2 plays an important role in the atmosphere. It helps trap the sun’s heat, warming our planet and protecting it from the frigid temperatures of outer space. However, too much CO2 in the atmosphere traps too much heat and risks raising the earth’s temperature.
Many things we need produce CO2 including cars, planes, agricultural equipment, and the manufacturing of countless daily essentials and building materials such as steel and concrete. Unfortunately, as the world works to limit the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, we will either need to reduce the amount of CO2 these activities produce, or we will have to limit these activities. However, if we capture CO2 at the manufacturing site before it is released to the atmosphere, we can continue to benefit from activities and products that produce CO2, while meeting climate goals.
Carbon capture and storage
Carbon Capture and Storage, or CCS, is a process that will allow industries that emit carbon dioxide (CO2) to both maintain operations and reduce CO2 emissions by using special equipment to remove the CO2 from their facilities’ exhaust before it reaches the air. Once captured, the CO2 can be transported by pipeline to an underground storage area designated by the government for safe and permanent storage. The same type of solid layers of rock that have kept oil and natural gas locked underground for millions of years can safely store CO2.
To help develop their CCS systems, companies that produce CO2 are working with oil and natural gas companies since they are experts at transporting and storing gases. These systems will require building carbon capture equipment at the source, pipelines to carry the captured carbon away from the source and wells to inject the CO2 safely and permanently underground.
Benefits of CCS
Carbon capture and storage projects will support the well-paying jobs at manufacturing facilities that produce carbon dioxide (CO2). By reducing their carbon footprint, CCS will allow these companies to continue operations as well as use available, affordable and reliable sources of energy. In addition, building CCS projects will create new, well-paying construction jobs and generate tax revenue for use at the state and local levels.
An even greater benefit is that by capturing the CO2 produced before it reaches the air, companies will enhance the sustainability of their manufacturing processes and contribute to the state and country’s ability to achieve their climate goals.
The International Energy Agency has concluded that important climate goals will be virtually impossible without CCS. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also has observed that the cost of reaching these goals will be considerably higher without CCS. Excluding CCS from our climate toolkit not only would result in significant increases in the cost of achieving overall emissions reductions but would also pose a risk that the climate goals may not be met.
For individuals, CCS will mean the ability to maintain today’s lifestyle, which is heavily derived from oil and natural gas, because energy production and products we enjoy can be significantly decarbonized.
Breaking down the process
Capturing, transporting and safely storing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is a proven process that will create new industry, help sustain jobs in industries that produce CO2 and help meet climate goals. Learn more about each element of the CCS process.