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Burgum: ND poised to become a leader in carbon capture

Gov. Doug Burgum meets with PSC, Commission staff and representatives of energy companies
Dave Thompson, Prairie Public
Gov. Doug Burgum meets with PSC, Commission staff and representatives of energy companies

Gov. Doug Burgum said he’s confident North Dakota will become “carbon neutral” by 2030.

That was the goal he announced back in May during the annual Williston Basin Petroleum Conference. And Burgum told the North Dakota Public Service Commission it has generated a lot of interest.

"There has never been this kind of surge of potential for large deals relating to energy in North Dakota," Burgum said. "All of them are here because of our CO2 storage capability."

Burgum said this can be done without mandates and without regulations – and that it would be driven by innovation. He said it will happen because of what he called the “geologic jackpot” of the Bakken, that’s beyond oil and natural gas development. And Burgum said the Bakken appears to be a good place to store CO2.

"We have the ability to store 252 billion tons of CO2 at the 7000 foot level," Burgum said. "That's about 4,400 years of the CO2 we produce in North Dakota."

Burgum said that represents about 50 years of the annual CO2 US production - or about five years of the world's production.

Burgum said his administration has identified $25 billion of potential projects coming to North Dakota. And he said that number could be low.

"We won't land all of them, because we're competing with other states," Burgum said. "But these are value-added carbon-negative projects investors are looking for."

Burgum suggested the CO2 could be used for enhanced oil recovery, or for greenhouses.

"Putting pure streams of CO2 into greenhouses aloows plants to grow substantially faster," Burgum said.

At a recent oil conference in Watford City, the Three Affiliated Tribes announced a greenhouse project.

"They've broken ground on a greenhouse that is going to cover the size of seven football fields," Burgum said. "They can use excess heat from flare gas, they will use the latest technology for insulation. It's going to be fantastic."