Governor Gordon Approves Two Projects for Energy Matching Funds

The Wyoming Energy Authority (WEA) announced today that Governor Gordon had approved two separate projects to receive Energy Matching Funds (EMF). ATR Partners has been awarded $9,850,000 for its Alpha Enriched Air Enhanced Oil Recovery, Carbon Sequestration & Hydrogen Pilot Project in Campbell County, and Visionary Metals Corp has been awarded up to $1 million for its King Solomon Nickel and Cobalt Project in Fremont County. Governor Gordon has final approval of the awarding of the Energy Matching Funds, which the WEA administers.

In 2022, the Wyoming State Legislature appropriated funds to the Office of the Governor in an effort to leverage Wyoming-based energy projects receiving federal or private funding. The projects must meet the criteria set forth by the legislature: for research, demonstration, pilot projects or commercial deployment projects related to Wyoming energy needs, including but not limited to carbon capture utilization and storage, carbon dioxide transportation, industrial carbon capture, coal refinery, and hydrogen production, transportation, storage, hydrogen hub development, biomass, biochar, hydropower, lithium, processing and separation, battery storage or wind and solar energy. 

“These two projects reflect Wyoming’s commitment to utilizing Energy Matching Funds to support new opportunities for our legacy industries to thrive in the 21st century economy,” Governor Gordon said. “Wyoming will continue to be a place where energy innovation is welcomed.”

“Both of these projects keep Wyoming at the forefront of the rapid innovation happening in the energy industry today,” said Rob Creager, Executive Director of the WEA. “One uses advances in technology that have the potential to recover more of Wyoming’s robust oil reserves; the other could help unlock the vital domestic production of nickel and cobalt, further ensuring energy security for our country. Wyoming’s natural resources have built our state, and we believe that projects like this will continue our history of providing reliable and secure energy to our nation for decades to come.”

ATR Partners’ project, Alpha Pilot Project, will use enriched air for enhanced oil recovery in Campbell County. Working with Principle Petroleum, ATR aims to recover an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil from Alpha Field. While a variety of different techniques are used in enhanced oil recovery, including in-situ combustion using atmospheric air, ATR’s innovative process uses enriched air with a lower nitrogen content. The enriched air provides increased efficiency, which has been made possible by recent advancements in air separation technology. ATR’s project involves installing air enrichment equipment, initiating injection, and launching a pilot program to extend Alpha Field’s production life while capturing and sequestering greenhouse gases that could instead be used to produce hydrogen. 

“Over the past decade, ATR management has advanced the technology to utilize enriched air injection to recover stranded oil. Our partnership with the State of Wyoming through the WEA enables ATR to demonstrate a commercially competitive tertiary process for maximizing hydrocarbon recovery from legacy oil fields, of which there are many in Wyoming,” said Scott Dobson, President of ATR Energy Corp. “As shared stakeholders of Wyoming’s natural resources, ATR has designed this process and the Alpha Pilot Project to capture and sequester greenhouse gases while also assessing the feasibility of producing commercial quantities of hydrogen.  ATR is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the WEA on this innovative endeavor.”

Visionary Metals’ King Soloman project is a geologic research and development project focused on evaluating Wyoming’s mineral resource potential for nickel, cobalt and platinum group elements. Located near Jeffrey City, the project’s objective is to better understand the region’s endowment of critical and strategic minerals and unlock potential production. Nickel and cobalt are critical components for a variety of materials, including stainless steel, battery storage, and catalytic converters for cars. By-products from the deposit could also include copper, an essential component for electric motors, power lines and consumer electronics. There is an essential need to create domestic production of these elements as currently China processes more than 60% of the world’s nickel and over 70% of cobalt. 

“It is great to be working in a place like Wyoming, where leaders in government and innovative companies are working together to find new sources of critical and strategic minerals like nickel, cobalt and platinum group elements,” said Visionary CEO Wes Adams. “These elements are used to make stainless steel, batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles, semi-conductors, catalytic converters, consumer electronics and other products which we consume but do not produce in any abundance domestically. The first step toward creating domestic circular supply chains for the strategic minerals used in these products is to locate and evaluate new resources. We’re delighted that Wyoming is taking the initiative to help.” 

Eight projects have previously been awarded Energy Matching Funds for a combined total of $56.6 million, leveraging $173.1 million of federal and private money. 

The EMF project review process includes an initial concept paper, followed by an invitation to submit a formal proposal. The project proposal then goes to a Review Committee – comprised of the Executive Director of the WEA, a designee from the Governor’s Office, the Director of the Department of Workforce Services, the CEO of the Wyoming Business Council, and the Executive Director of the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources. If projects are recommended to proceed, a ten-day public comment period opens. All comments are reviewed and considered in the final decision to award EMF. The project proposal goes to the Attorney General’s office and then the Governor for final approval. This public process ensures that each project awarded has been thoroughly considered by multiple parties, including an invitation to members of the public to weigh in on projects.

The Energy Matching Funds continuously accepts concept papers but follows a periodic review process. For more information, please visit the Energy Matching Funds webpage