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UK: DTI Publishes Enhanced Oil Recovery Report

Articles / Fossil Fuels
Posted by gfoat on Apr 08, 2004 - 06:22 AM

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: www.dti.gov.uk/energy/coal/cfft/index.shtml# [1]

Notes

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 producers.

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.


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  [1] http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/coal/cfft/index.shtml