BLM May Limit Plan For 600,000 Acres Of CO2 Storage For Wyoming Ammonia Plant

A Wyoming BLM assessment could severely limit a massive 600,000-acre carbon dioxide storage plan. The CO2 storage would be needed to build an industrial-scale coal-to-ammonia plant in southwest Wyoming.

Pat Maio

July 10, 20244 min read

The Red Desert is a high altitude sagebrush steppe and dry landscape in southern Wyoming.
The Red Desert is a high altitude sagebrush steppe and dry landscape in southern Wyoming. (Photo by Kyle Spradley via Adobe Stock)

A Wyoming Bureau of Land Management environmental assessment on one of two carbon sequestration projects proposed by a Kansas-based developer in Wyoming severely limits the geographic area of where minimally toxic carbon dioxide can be stored in the southwestern part of the Cowboy State.

The project’s sponsors are looking to the underground storage of CO2 as a “first step” to building an industrial-scale ammonia plant, according to the environmental assessment obtained by Cowboy State Daily.

The cheapest way of manufacturing ammonia is to strip hydrogen from natural gas using steam, then combining the hydrogen with nitrogen from the air at high pressure and temperatures of hundreds of degrees. Hydrogen and natural gas are both commodities that Wyoming has in abundance.

Ammonia plants are typically built in remote locations like southwest Wyoming because of inherent dangers. A large release of ammonia would burn the leaves of downwind vegetation.

No details on the second project in the southeastern part of the state have been released by the carbon capture project’s developer because it is still being penciled out, said Wyoming BLM spokesman Micky Fisher.

In the southwest project, however, the BLM partially granted right of way access to inject carbon dioxide underground in two of three counties that Kansas-based Moxa Carbon Storage LLC had proposed, according to a 142-page environmental assessment conducted by the Wyoming BLM field offices in Kemmerer and Rock Springs.

The southeastern project is being handled by BLM’s Rawlins field office.

Cody Wagoner, director of land and subsurface and new ventures for Moxa Carbon in Wyoming, and the company’s spokesperson Rachel Carmichael, did not return phone calls or messages sent to them about the project.

Wagoner is the main Moxa Carbon executive on the project in Wyoming whose name has been associated with the application submitted to the Wyoming BLM office last September, Fisher said.

The southwest Wyoming project had covered a huge swath of land extending below Lincoln, Sweetwater and Uinta counties. The environmental assessment released last week excludes the 4,100 square miles of land that makes up Lincoln.

Moxa Carbon, which changed its name from Tallgrass High Plains Carbon Storage in February 2023, was authorized by the BLM to permanently store carbon dioxide in nearly 605,100 acres of underground “pore space.”

Mum Is The Word

Filings submitted to the BLM say no public-owned surface lands would be disturbed, though the carbon dioxide would be stored in federally owned underground pore space.

Carbon sequestration is the process of injecting carbon dioxide — the most common greenhouse gas — deep underground, permanently preventing it from entering the atmosphere.

Underground rock forms pore space, which is defined as a cavity or void, whether naturally or artificially created.

The BLM wrote in the environmental assessment obtained by Cowboy State Daily that additional rights of ways may be submitted to the BLM in the future, should Moxa Carbon eventually seek BLM permission to build surface-level infrastructure on BLM-administered public lands.

As Moxa Carbon explained in a letter submitting its application to the BLM, the pore space right of way is the “first step in a larger project” that will consist of carbon capture infrastructure at planned ammonia production facilities.

Fisher declined to provide a copy of Moxa Carbon’s application for the carbon sequestration project in southwestern Wyoming because it contains confidential financial information and still needs to be “scrubbed” for release.

Cowboy State Daily has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain a copy of the document with the BLM’s parent federal agency, the Department of the Interior.

In addition to a right of way granting the use of BLM-administered federal pore space for permanent geologic sequestration, Moxa Carbon would be required to seek approval from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality for the construction and eventual operation of one or more wells to inject the carbon dioxide underground.

Pat Maio can be reached at

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Pat Maio


Pat Maio is a veteran journalist who covers energy for Cowboy State Daily.