Carbon capture co. still awaiting permit for El Dorado project
By Caitlan Butler
Kevin Bourgeois, vice president of operations and co-founder of Lapis Energy, gave an update on a carbon capture and sequestration project the company is undertaking at the local LSB Industries plant.
First announced in February, Lapis Energy is planning to drill a well at the LSB plant – formerly El Dorado Chemical --, where carbon emitted in the latter company's ammonia production processes will be stored indefinitely. The captured carbon will be stored in underground saline reservoirs where oil and gas can't be found.
Since Lapis announced the project, company officials have made an effort to reach out to the community, including through open house meetings held earlier this week, as well as stops at local events like last weekend's Outdoor Expo.
Bourgeois said Lapis is currently still waiting for a drilling permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"So, where the project is at right now is, we're at the permitting stage. It's a quite extensive permit from the EPA; it takes several years to get approval for a project," he said. "We're in the first year – it's actually two years."
In the meantime, the company is working on engineering and design plans for the well, he said. Lapis has learned through that process that the well needed to store the carbon under the LSB plant won't need to be as big as originally thought, so landowners in the area immediately surrounding the facility may not be affected.
"We're leasing land all around the plant. Most of the area we see using will be staged under the confines of LSB's property. When we first started, we thought it would be a lot larger, so we started leasing land," he said. "We probably won't have CO2 leaking underneath the El Dorado plant, but we are honoring our commitments to lease all this land."
LSB's current partnership with Continental Carbonics, a dry ice manufacturer with a facility in El Dorado, where carbon generated at LSB is shared with the latter company, won't be interrupted, Bourgeois said.
And the project will be beneficial in several ways. Storing the carbon produced at the LSB plant will reduce emissions equivalent to taking 120,000 cars off the road, Bourgeois said, and LSB's cleaner ammonia will sell for more money.
"We're cleaning the air, and we're giving LSB the opportunity to sell their ammonia at a premium, because you can get a higher price for de-carbonized ammonia, which allows them to take that money and invest in their plant ... which means more to go around," he said.
Lapis Energy has established several lines of communication to give local residents the opportunity to learn more about the project, including a phone line (870-724-4016) and an email address ([email protected]). Detailed information about the project is also available at lapisenergy.com.