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Coal-gasification plant plan dies, backers say

– Legislation state lawmakers passed last week that the developers of a proposed Indiana coal-gasification plant say effectively kills their project also has dealt a blow to a Texas company’s plans for a pipeline that would carry carbon dioxide to the Deep South for extracting oil from depleted Gulf Coast oil fields.

Ernesto Alegria, Denbury Resources spokesman, said Friday that IndianaGasification LLC’s proposed $2.8 billion plant near the Ohio River city of Rockport was the last hope for making the 440-mile Indiana-to-Mississippi pipeline a reality. Coal-gasification plants turn coal into synthetic natural gas.

Alegria said two other proposed coal-gasification plants – one in Illinois, the other in Kentucky – that would have fed compressed carbon dioxide into the pipeline had previously fallen through or been altered to remove their carbon dioxide production.

“Really the last one that we had as a potential source of the gas was the IndianaGasification plant in Rockport. Now with that plant in question it just doesn’t look like it’s a project that’s going to get done,” Alegria said of the pipeline.

The proposed pipeline would have run from Rockport to Tinsley, Miss., where it would have linked up with other pipelines that would have carried the liquefied gas to depleted oil fields along the Gulf Coast, where it’s used to push remaining oil deposits to the surface.

The coal-gas plant proposed for a southern Indiana would turn coal into pipeline-quality synthetic natural gas and also extracted carbon dioxide during the gas-making process, compressing it into a liquid that would then be fed into Denbury’s planned pipeline.