The state of Wyoming has issued three Class VI permits for the storage of carbon dioxide, with all of them going to Frontier Carbon Solutions. Taking advantage of its primacy when it comes to this type of well, the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) took 10 months to be reviewed, a stark difference with the duration of the federal process managed by the EPA.
“First steps are important, but these first permits did not come without a lot of preparatory work by both DEQ and Frontier Carbon Solutions. I extend my congratulations to both. This step launches a unique opportunity for Wyoming’s citizens, industries, and economy,” Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said.
Lily Barkau, Groundwater Section Manager of DEQ’s Water Quality Division leads the team that has worked on establishing the Class VI program. “We worked two years to stand up the program. To see these permits come to fruition is quite exciting,” Lily said.
The three wells are located west of Green River, WY and are part of the Sweetwater Carbon Storage Hub that will likely be utilized for both point source carbon capture projects, as well as direct air capture projects. Frontier is working with partners Carbon Capture Inc on developing Project Bison, one of the largest DAC projects that has a goal of capturing 5 million tons of CO2 every year.
Frontier Carbon Solutions’ three permits in Wyoming took 10 months to go through the review process. “Compared to the federal EPA process, this is a relatively short time,” said Lily. “Wyoming has set up an efficient and rigorous process, working with the permittee to see that our standards are met. Frontier Carbon Solutions was a great first partner. We will continue to refine and streamline our process as more companies apply for Class VI permits.”
The next steps for Frontier Carbon Solutions come in two phases. The first one is planned for mid-2025 and will include the initial groundworks on the site with test injections and data gathering for the well. After this phase is ready a formal utilization order will be requested from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. If all technical and safety requirements are met the permit to inject CO2 will be granted.
“DEQ staff will be on-site to witness the drilling. This is a part of our assurance process. We will be engaged with the whole development,” Lily stated.
The go-ahead for the project is another milestone for Wyoming with the state turning into a hotspot for the carbon industry. An agreement with Colorado was recently signed for developing DAC together and the University of Wyoming was selected to lead the fourth CarbonSAFE project.
Class VI permits are granted for the storage of CO2 in deep geological formations. The Wyoming Legislature worked with the DEQ to develop a program granting the state primacy to review and approve Class VI permits through the underground injection control (UIC) program. In 2020, Wyoming received primacy from the EPA; one of two states to have received this authority. North Dakota is the other state with primacy.
The three Class VI permits are publicly available and can be reviewed here.