Government to Bury CO2 in Teapot Dome Oil Field

The U.S. Department of Energy is planning to bury some 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide a year underneath the Teapot Dome oil field in central Wyoming, in the largest carbon-sequestration test project ever undertaken. The process, which involves compressing CO2 into liquid form and injecting it into depleted oil reservoirs, is being touted by the Bush administration as one of the most effective ways to combat global warming. One goal of the test is to stimulate growth of the private CO2 sequestration industry; another is to calm worries of environmental groups that CO2 could leak through cracks in the earth or into water aquifers. Dag Nummedal, director of the University of Wyoming Institute for Energy Research, has high hopes: “If we look at all the suitable, depleted oil and gas reservoirs in the world, and we were able to fill all of them up, we would be able to store the total global emissions over the next 100 years.” Historically minded readers will recall that Teapot Dome was the site of a massive government scandal in the 1920s. Here’s hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.