The Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership (BSCSP) is excited to begin work on an eight-year, large scale carbon storage research project in northern Montana.
Through this project, BSCSP aims to show that a geologic structure in Toole County called Kevin Dome is a safe and viable site to store carbon dioxide (CO2). This project will produce 1 million tonnes of CO2 from a natural source within the dome. The CO2 will then be transported in a 2” diameter pipeline approximately 6 miles to the injection site. From there, the CO2 will be injected deep underground into the Duperow formation located on the edge of the Kevin Dome. Throughout the project, scientists will closely monitor the geology, geochemistry, water quality, air quality and underground CO2 behavior.
This project is a partnership among Montana State University and several other organizations (universities, national laboratories, and private companies). Our work is part of a national program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy that is looking at carbon storage sites around the country as one way to reduce greenhouse gases. Overall, this project will total $67 million in federal funds and $18 million from private funds, and employ over 100 workers. Read our Kevin Dome CO2 Storage Project Overview here.
The Project at Present
This project involves four main phases that will take place over the course of eight years (2012-2019). BSCSP is currently in the “site characterization” phase of this project. This phase includes project permitting, a 3-D seismic survey, environmental monitoring and site analysis, and geologic modeling and analysis. The information collected during the “site characterization” phase will guide well placement and modeling efforts as well as provide valuable information about the source of CO2 and its properties.
Kevin Dome Timeline, 2011-2019
The first on-the-ground activity is the seismic survey. Work on the seismic survey began in early December 2011 and continued through March 2012. The seismic crew suspended work for the spring and summer and finished up in the fall and winter of 2012.
Why Kevin Dome?
Kevin Dome is a large underground, geologic feature that covers roughly 700 square miles in Toole County, Montana. This area is an excellent study site for several reasons. First, there is an abundance of naturally occurring CO2 that has been trapped in place for millions of years. This CO2 can be extracted from one part of the Kevin Dome and piped a relatively short distance (six miles) to the injection site. This short distance helps keep costs low and reduces environmental impacts. Second, Kevin Dome also has subsurface rock layers that do not contain CO2. These porous areas are great injection sites because they have the capacity to store CO2, and they have known overlaying impermeable rock barriers that seal and trap the CO2 in place. Kevin Dome’s geology will also allow scientists to compare rocks that have been previously exposed to CO2 to rocks that have not been previously exposed to CO2. Lastly, this area has an active oil and gas industry that may be able to provide practical and economical applications of the study’s findings.
Local Community Benefits
BSCSP is committed to working with the local communities and members of the public who live near the project area. The community benefits of this project may include: economic growth, national visibility, greater understanding of resources, and youth education and professional development. Read more about our anticipated local community benefits here.
BSCSP has conducted a previous site characterization study on Kevin Dome to learn more about its properties and determine its potential as a CO2 storage site. The information gained from this study showed that the dome has great potential to be a large scale carbon storage site. For example, we know that CO2 has already been safely trapped in Kevin Dome for millions of years. This fact gives us reason to believe that the underground rock layers can support the safe and permanent trapping of additional CO2.
Permitting and Regulations
This project is required to comply with numerous state and federal laws and obtain permits from several state and federal agencies. These permits and regulations help to protect human health and the environment. BSCSP is currently in the permitting process and is working with the appropriate state and federal agencies to obtain all permits necessary for project success.
Community input and local knowledge is an important aspect of this project. Please send us your questions and comments by email, phone or mail:
Lindsey Tollefson, Project Manager
Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership
Montana State University
PO Box 174265
Bozeman, MT 59717-2465
View answers to our Frequently Asked Questions and use our Glossary to learn more about the BSCSP and CCS.