Michigan Crude Oil And Petroleum Act 16 of 1929 Amended in April, 2014: Part 1

Amended Act 16 expands the law so it applies to pipelines carrying carbon dioxide used in hydrocarbon “enhanced recovery” operations.

The Michigan Crude Oil and Petroleum Act 16 of 1929 regulates the business of carrying, transporting, buying, selling, and dealing in crude oil, petroleum or its products by the Michigan public service commission. It authorizes the use of public highways and the condemnation of private property in certain situations. The amended act was signed into law on April 1, 2014 by Governor Snyder. It now includes certain substances consisting primarily of carbon dioxide through pipelines to be used in hydrocarbon “enhanced recovery”. This is the first in a series of articles discussing the amended act. 

Enhanced recovery was included in The President’s Climate Action Plan in June 2013. President Obama’s action plan states that carbon pollution is one of the biggest drivers of climate change. It also states that in 2009, he made a pledge that by 2020, America would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels if all other major economies agreed to limit their emissions as well.

One of the Environmental Protection Agency’s tools to reduce carbon in the environment is carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration does the following:

  • Capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants or industrial processes
  • Transport of the captured and compressed CO2 (usually in pipelines).
  • Underground injection and geologic sequestration (also referred to as storage) of the CO2 into deep underground rock formations. These formations are often a mile or more beneath the surface and consist of porous rock that holds the CO2. Overlying these formations are impermeable, non-porous layers of rock that trap the CO2 and prevent it from migrating upward.

Transport of CO2 through pipelines is the main method of transporting CO2. Carbon sequestration can provide additional benefits through “enhanced recovery”. Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is a generic term for techniques for increasing the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an oil field.

According to Michigan State University Extention, enhanced recovery is being used in older oil and gas fields. By utilizing enhanced recovery, carbon is sequestered deep beneath the earth’s surface and additional crude oil is extracted, providing additional energy.

Other articles in this series:

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