A Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) report, 'Implementing a
Demonstration of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Using Carbon Dioxide',
has been published today. The report fulfils the DTI's commitment in the Energy White Paper to "set up an urgent detailed implementation plan with developers, generators and the oil producers to establish what needs to be done to get a demonstration [of EOR] project off the ground".
The main conclusions from the report are:
* Under current market conditions there is little interest in
CO2-based EOR amongst North Sea oil producers, consequently a full
implementation plan has not been developed.
* CO2-based EOR remains a potential option for demonstrating carbon
dioxide capture and storage (CCS), which is central to the
development of near to zero emissions fossil fuel combustion plant.
* DTI is currently reviewing its strategy for the development of near
to zero emission fossil fuel plant and CO2-based EOR will be further
considered within this strategy.
* Recognising the potential value of CO2-based EOR as a way to
demonstrate CCS the report specifies a set of interim actions to take
the concept forward for possible inclusion in the overall strategy.
The full report, with Executive Summary, is available at:
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is a general term covering techniques for
extracting additional oil from oil reservoirs. One technique
involves injecting CO2 into the oil reservoir which reduces its
viscosity hence making it easier to extract. The technique is used
widely in North America but has not been deployed offshore.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is attracting much international
interest as a technique for making major reductions in CO2 greenhouse
gas emissions while continuing to use fossil fuels. The main option
for storing CO2 is through geo-sequestration in oil reservoirs,
depleted gas fields and saline aquifers.
CO2 sequestration in oil fields combined with EOR offers a financial
return to partially offset the cost of CCS. However, it also
involves additional costs associated with modifying oil production
facilities to handle CO2.
The commitment in the Energy White Paper to set up an implementation plan for CO2 based EOR was motivated by preliminary results that suggested that this could be economically attractive with some North Sea oil fields. However, further assessments reported in DTI's Review of the Feasibility of CCS in the UK showed there was a
significant financial gap. This study has confirmed that CO2 based
EOR is not currently an attractive investment to North Sea oil
While CO2 base EOR is not commercially attractive it could have a
role in any future demonstration of CCS. This needs to be considered
as part of an integrated strategy for developing CCS technologies,
hence its inclusion in DTI's review of its strategy for development
near to zero emission fossil fuel technologies.