Semester of Graduation

Fall 2017


Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

Document Type



There is no single solution to mitigate anthropogenic climate change; a multifaceted approach with economic incentives is needed. Carbon dioxide (CO2) enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is one such solution which provides an economic incentive, in the capture and sale of oil, for sequestering CO2 underground. While carbon capture and subsequent geological injection are both mature technologies, there has been little discussion or appreciation for the role of pipelines. The current CO2 pipeline infrastructure will need to significantly expand in order to accommodate increasing EOR production. However, pipeline construction costs, and institutional factors impacting development, may be key obstacles slowing the large scale implementation of CO2-EOR. Numerous authors suggest reusing underutilized or abandoned natural gas pipelines as a way to save on CO2 transportation costs. While there have been a few successful case studies in this regard, no work has attempted to determine the feasibility of implementing large scale pipeline conversion projects. In order to repurpose pipelines, operators will need to consider source and sink locations, pipeline capacity necessary to support an EOR project, existing pipe material and composition and pipeline utilization. This study is the first of its kind to answer these questions by using a Geographic Information System (GIS), developing proxies for pipeline design specifications, utilizing federal pipeline design reports and parish natural gas production data. The conclusions suggest that current Louisiana natural gas infrastructure is rated below the commonly suggested pressures needed to transport CO2 in its supercritical (liquid) phase and if conversion projects are pursued, they will need to transport CO2 in gaseous form. The methods used here have a considerable local context and may be acceptable only in states where an extensive natural gas infrastructure is in place. This research suggests there are some unique pipeline repurposing opportunities, but those opportunities are likely lower than the optimistic suggestions of the noted literature.



Committee Chair

Dismukes, David