Carbon Capture Discussed

Photo by Doug Keeler

By Doug Keeler

CRC’s plan to put millions of tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise go into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming was discussed at a workshop presented by Kern County’s top planning official and two representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency in Taft last week.

The workshop was part of a lengthy permitting process for the huge project at Elk Hills. Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Director Lorelei Oviatt and Davide Albright, manager of the groundwater section and environmental engineer Elise Nord from the EPA Region 9 office in San Francisco conducted the to-hour workshop.

The CRC TerraVault project got positive reaction from about 75 people at the workshop at the West Side Recreation and Park District.

The entire project will cover more than 9,0000 acres of surface land. Carbon dioxide captured at well locations on Elk Hills will be sent by pipeline to the TerraVault, then pumped thousands of feet down through injection wells. There the carbon dioxide will be sequestered underground “for thousands of years,” before it becomes part of the rock in the depleted oil formations.

The project will first need approval from the Kern County Planning Department and Kern County Board of Supervisors before it will go to the EPA and any decision made at any point in the process can be appealed.

The TerraVault is the first of its kind in the state. CRC will have to abandon some oil wells on the TerraVault site and modify some into observation wells to ensure the carbon dioxide does leak.

Long-time oil advocate Les Clark Jr. said he looked the project over endorsed it.

“This one seems to fit the bill for what we need.”

Other speakers were in favor of it too.

George Harmer is safety manager for General Production and a member of the Taft Union High School District Board of Trustees.

“I’m here to express my whole-hearted support for this  project,” he said.

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