Summit Carbon project mired in contradictions

North Dakota officials were pulling no punches during an informational session held in Bismarck last month, highlighting the importance of the Summit Carbon pipeline to both the sustainable aviation fuel market and enhanced oil recovery efforts in the Bakken.

During a December 20, 2023, BEK TV special report that broadcast a Friends of Ag and Energy public information session on the Summit Carbon pipeline, held at Bismarck State College’s National Energy Center of Excellence, Governor Doug Burgum said, “Sustainable aviation fuel, if you want to call it the Saudi Arabia of sustainable aviation fuel, it’s going to happen somewhere between North Dakota and Iowa and in between, the corn belt.”

Kathleen Neset, a geologist and owner of Neset Consulting Service Inc. who moderated the panel, spoke after Burgum, stating the following at the outset:

We’re also going to talk about CCUS: carbon capture utilization and storage. And the utilization part of it is – typically, we look to the future. As the technology comes forward, we will use the CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. And how we built that legacy fund, and how we elevated all of us here in North Dakota, was through the production of oil. Now if we can do that, and as the governor was talking about, raising a billion barrels, one more percent, two more percent, five more percent of that oil produced safely, then we elevate all of North Dakotans.

Those comments appear to be at odds with previous statements by Summit Carbon chief operating officer James “Jimmy” Powell in rebuttal testimony submitted to the Iowa Utilities Board on August 21, 2023 (p. 6):

Q. Certain Intervenors have mentioned the use of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (“EOR”). Does Summit intend to ship CO2 for use in EOR?

A. No. Summit does not intend to ship CO2 for use in EOR. At present, all parties intending to ship on Summit’s pipeline system intend to permanently sequester the CO2 being shipped.