Carbon capture projects in Louisiana gaining steam but obstacles remain

CARBON CORRAL: Louisiana is angling to become a major player in the carbon capture storage industry and Jason Lanclos, director of the Department of Natural Resources State Energy Office, expects as many as 11 site application permits to be filed by the end of the year. (Photography by Don Kadair)

At first glance it would seem to be a “win-win” scenario by any measure, but Louisiana’s budding carbon capture, utilization and storage, or CCUS, market is not without its detractors. Environmentalists object to technology that perpetuates the production of fossil fuels and have concerns about safety, but there is growing local interest in CCUS, driven mostly by a 2018 federal tax credit increase.

The credit—known as Section 45Q—is designed to encourage permanent sequestration, so initial projects will focus solely on the storage of carbon and require an extensive monitoring process.

Jason Lanclos, director of the Department of Natural Resources State Energy Office in Baton Rouge, says the first permit for a Louisiana-based CCUS project was filed by Gulf Coast Sequestration of Lake Charles in October, and he expects another five to 10 permits by year’s end. Venture Global LNG and ExxonMobil have announced plans to get into carbon capture in the near future, with ExxonMobil investing $3 billion through 2025 on what it calls “lower-emissions technologies.”

However, Lanclos says a lack of regulatory streamlining is a fundamental obstacle to CCUS, as is the inadequate number of pipelines to transport the carbon, both of which could slow down any projects in the state.

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