We Can Increase Production While Lowering Emissions

Carbon capture and storage is critical for achieving energy independence.
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Illustration by S.E. George

As president of Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA), I have been encouraged by the incredible support across Louisiana for our energy industry. Despite facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, Louisiana’s energy industry is coming back stronger than ever and is looking for ways to increase energy production in our state.

The war in Ukraine and global turmoil have shown the U.S. cannot and should not rely on other countries for energy. That’s why we must prioritize producing more energy here at home – starting in Louisiana.

Simultaneously, companies from Apple to Coca-Cola to Sasol and major utilities like Entergy have all made pledges to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. To do this, they are seeking to buy energy with zero carbon emissions to fuel their operations. With nearly 60% of the Fortune 500 making net-zero commitments, the need for zero- and low-carbon fuels is rising quickly.

Demand is skyrocketing for American-made energy and fuels with lower emissions. By utilizing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, Louisiana can deliver.

We can seize this moment and become the nation’s, and the world’s, top supplier of low-carbon energy. We must continue producing natural gas and oil and even increase our production but also capitalize on CCS technology to create carbon-free fuels like hydrogen.

While elected officials are considering measures that would impact CCS, we all must consider how our state can benefit from this process and changing market demands. By implementing CCS technology in South Louisiana before most other states, we can lead the next wave of industrial innovation and energy production. But first, we must work together to ensure our elected leaders oppose efforts to prematurely hamper opportunities in our state and in our communities.

Science must guide our future – not politics. The evidence is clear — CCS is the safest, most reliable way to increase energy production and petrochemical manufacturing in Louisiana while lowering emissions. The United States has safely captured and stored CO2 for half a century, and we have utilized pipelines to transport chemicals and fuels for even longer. There are currently over 5,000 miles of pipelines safely distributing CO2 across the country. Pipelines are a proven mode of transportation.

More than 105,000 Louisianians are directly employed by the oil and natural gas industry in Louisiana. The deployment of CCS technology and infrastructure could create even more energy jobs. When we grow the oil and natural gas industry, we support the growth of other small businesses in our communities. In fact, for every job created in the industry, 1.4 more jobs are created elsewhere in the state.

The buildout of a CCS network across the Bayou State could generate nearly $14 billion in private investment across many communities as facilities are retrofitted with new equipment and CO2 pipelines are built.

The energy industry is booming. We all feel it and see it across Louisiana. We are once again in a golden age of energy production in America. Louisiana is poised to benefit from this production boom if we adapt to changing energy markets.

As our partners at the local and state level consider the future of our industry and our economy, they should keep in mind that carbon capture is one of the safest, most efficient ways for our industry and the hundreds of thousands of families who rely on it to be formidable for decades to come. To be energy independent and grow the Louisiana economy, we need our elected leaders to support policies this legislative session that best benefit the state, their constituents and the energy industry.

Tommy Faucheux is president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association. He may be reached via email at president@lmoga.com.