Lapis Energy, the company behind a carbon capture and sequestration initiative at LSB Industries (formerly El Dorado Chemical), will hold a public meeting on Monday, and company representatives are inviting the community to come learn more about the project.
"It's really going to be very informal," said Lauren Berry, vice president of sustainability at Lapis, on Friday. "It's really so we can get to know the community better and they can get to know us. We're going to take anybody's questions they have."
The carbon capture project was first announced by Lapis CEO Reg Manhas at the El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce's first economic outlook luncheon of the year, in March. Carbon dioxide capture is a process in which the carbon emissions from industrial processes are captured and stored, or sequestered, long-term.
The LSB-Lapis project will be the first of its kind in Arkansas, and one of the first in the U.S., Manhas said in March. That's part of why it's important to make connections with the community, Berry said.
"Most of us have worked in the oil and gas industry for a long time, and I think in that industry, we think about our social license to operate; we're used to being in communities and thinking about our host communities," Berry said. "We don't want anyone in this community to be surprised by anything we do."
Lapis has submitted a permit application to drill a well at the LSB plant, in which the carbon will be stored. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website lists the permit's status as "pending" and the project as being in the "pre-construction" phase as of Friday.
Manhas explained in March that the carbon captured at the plant will be stored in "pore space," or underground saline reservoirs where oil and gas can't be found, underneath the LSB plant. Local residents who reside or own property near the plant are encouraged to come to the public meeting Monday.
"We've kind of framed it as 'neighbors of the El Dorado facility,' and I think by that, we mean literally neighbors, so folks who live around the plant, landowners," Berry said. "That's the initial target audience... but certainly anyone who's interested (should come)."
In attendance at the meeting will be Berry, Chief Geo-scientist Stijn Koning and Vice President of Operations Kevin Bourgeois, the latter two of whom are both co-founders of Lapis. A representative from LSB Industries will also attend.
Berry said the goal of the carbon capture project is simple: to reduce the emissions at the LSB plant. In doing so, LSB will be able to produce "blue ammonia," which is used in everything from fertilizer to water plant treatments and more.
"My favorite stat from what that means: it's like taking 109,000 cars off the road, the kind of emissions reductions we're talking about," Berry said. "The nature of the project, in reducing these emissions from the production of ammonia – it means LSB is able to sell what's called blue ammonia. That's a lower carbon product that's in increasing demand in international markets, so it's helping LSB maintain a competitive edge."
Two open house meetings will be held on Monday at the Haywood Hotel, 210 S. Washington: a morning session from 8-10 a.m. and an afternoon session from 4-6 p.m. The meetings are free to attend and open to the public.
"I think it will be a win if people learn more about the project, but more importantly, know how to get in touch with us. We don't want to be a faceless company where nobody knows who we are or what we're doing. This isn't going to be the last time you see us," Berry said, noting that the company hopes to use feedback they get at this meeting to plan future open houses for the community.
Lapis has also set up other avenues of communication for local residents, including a phone line (870-724-4016) and an email address ([email protected]). Detailed information about the project in El Dorado is also available on the company's website, lapisenergy.com.