Navigator briefs O’Brien County on CO2 pipeline

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Navigator CO2 Ventures LLC sent Executive Vice President over Engineering, Stephen Lee to the June 14 O'Brien County Board of Supervisors meeting to brief the supervisors on recent progress and developments with Navigator's proposed Heartland Greenway carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) pipeline system.

Accompanying Lee were Navigator V.P. of Government & Public Affairs Elizabeth Burns Thompson and Valero Renewables Hartley, Iowa Facility Manager Kraig Kruger.

    Prior to a June 7 Sioux Falls based POET Ethanol press release indicating that POET had signed on and is partnering with Navigator, the Heartland Greenway was initially proposed to be a 1,300-mile, $3 billion pipeline system across South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota with a southeast endpoint in Illinois where liquefied CO2 will be permanently sequestered 6,500 feet down in the Mt. Simon Sandstone geological formation.

“We recognize that now is the time to take bold action to preserve our planet for future generations,” said Jeff Broin, POET Founder and CEO. “POET has been a leader in low-carbon biofuels and CO2 capture for commercial use for decades, and this project is another significant step in utilizing bioprocessing to accelerate our path to net-zero.”

“This agreement is a testament to two industries coming together and using their resources to pave innovative pathways toward carbon neutrality and a more sustainable future. The breadth, scale, and technical acumen of each party’s platform is unmatched,” said Matt Vining, Chief Executive Officer of Navigator.

With the addition of POET to the platform, Navigator’s system will provide CCUS services for more than 30 industrial processors across the agriculture and food production value chains, representing over ten (10) million tons of annual CO2 emissions, including the two (2) largest bioethanol producers in the United States.

Project Update Information

Thompson opened her presentation with a brief project update.  "In February, Navigator began surveying activities.  It's important that these route maps show the half-mile wide pipeline corridor.  This wider corridor will be whittled down to 50 foot wide for the placement of the permanent landowner easement.  We've been having initial conversations with landowners.  We haven't extended any offers yet to landowners in terms of dollars and cents.  That outreach process, I believe, will begin in the middle of July.”

Lee reported the diameters for Navigator's four lateral pipelines that merge near Valero's ethanol facility. A 12-inch lateral pipeline will come in from Nebraska ethanol plants.  An 8-inch lateral pipeline will carry liquefied CO2 from POET's South Dakota ethanol facilities.  An 8-inch pipeline will collect CO2 from two ethanol plants northeast of Hartley.  With Valero designing and building its own CO2 capture facility, a 6 inch diameter will exit that facility and merge with the other three.

All four lateral pipelines will be combined inside an aggregating piping manifold assembly near the fermentation process encompassing about an acre in size. A 16-inch diameter lateral pipeline will then exit the manifold assembly and the Valero ethanol facility and then heads southeast that becomes Heartland Greenway's mainline to Illinois, Lee explained.  

Lee briefly explained how their project timeline has been pushed back.  At their initial Sheldon landowners meeting back in December, Navigator reported their intent was to file for their IUB permit application in May.  

  "We're now looking at filing our formal permit application with the IUB sometime in October that will allow us to construct and operate a Hazardous Liquid Pipeline," Lee explained.

For the balance of 2022 and throughout much of 2023, Navigator will continue right-of-way surveying activities as needed and negotiating voluntary landowner easement agreements.  In the 4th quarter of 2023, Navigator anticipates receiving their Federal and State permits.  Construction could then start in the 2nd quarter of 2024 with initial pipeline system commissioning in the 2nd quarter of 2025.  

Navigator prepared estimates showing the short-term and future economic impact their Heartland Greenway CCS Pipeline that could result for states along the current 1,300-miles of pipeline based on their current $3 billion dollar net acquisition cost to build.

"Approximately 900 miles of pipeline could be built in Iowa alone," Thompson reported.  "These figures are a rough estimate.  When we file our formal application with the IUB in October, we will rerun these numbers because of the addition of POET to our project. Our actual cost to build the project is likely to be much larger."  

These property tax revenue numbers were also based on state-wide tax levy assessments.  Currently, there are no other CO2 pipelines operating in Iowa.  So, comparing cost figures from earlier CO2 pipeline project costs was not possible.

When asked what the potential property tax revenue that could result for all the counties along the 900 miles of pipeline planned for Iowa, Thompson replied, "About $30 million dollars a year, I think, in total." 

Based on 63 miles of 8-inch, 12-inch and 16-inch diameter pipeline proposed to cross O’Brien County, their yearly property tax revenue benefit could approach $2,021,531 based on their early estimates. Navigator could then become the 2nd highest property tax paying entity in O’Brien County behind only MidAmerican Energy Company and their 318 wind turbines built in 2014 through 2016.

       Based on 5.51 miles of 12-inch diameter pipeline proposed to cross the NW corner of Cherokee County, their yearly property tax revenue could approach $171,653 based on this preliminary estimate.  With 32.45 miles of 16-inch and 8-inch diameter pipeline proposed to cross Clay County, their yearly property tax benefit could approach $1,011,841.  

Valero's Kruger then offered a few comments about their facility operations.  "Right now, we're grinding about 140,000 bushels of corn a day which is the equivalent of about 140 large truck loads of corn arriving from area corn producers each day.  We take in corn 6 days a week except on Sundays. Usually, one ethanol train load leaves the facility each week.”  


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