North Sea oil recovery using carbon dioxide is possible, but time is running out, expert says

 

Lest anyone doubt what the concept of burying Carbon Dioxide, as could be mandated by laws concerning Cap & Trade and Geologic Sequestration, in leaky old natural petroleum deposits, all at the expense of our vital Coal-use industries and their customers, is really all about, then the article we enclose herein  should help to clarify the underlying motivations.

Burying Carbon Dioxide is not only, as labeled by Penn State University scientist Craig Grimes, as we've documented, "ridiculous"; but, it could also lead to, as revealed in this article, according to at least one United Kingdom scientist, a "bonanza" for oil producers.

Not only that, but, an important fact is, almost obliquely, when it should be obvious, revealed herein:

 

Burying Carbon Dioxide from Coal-burning power plants in old Oil fields, and enabling secondary recovery of petroleum, does not reduce atmospheric Carbon Dioxide.

The CO2 that would have gone into the atmosphere from a Coal-fired power plant, but was instead pumped into an old oil well, will be replaced in the atmosphere when the Oil that is pushed out of the ground, by the injected Carbon Dioxide, is ultimately burned as liquid vehicle fuel, and thus produces CO2 of it's own.

That, of course, aside from the fact, again as we have documented, that injected Carbon Dioxide is quite likely to start leaking up and out of those old natural petroleum reservoirs - after pushing out residual oil.

 

Brief comment follows excerpts from:

 

"North Sea Oil Recovery Using Carbon Dioxide Is Possible, but Time Is Running Out, Expert Says

ScienceDaily (Oct. 29, 2010) — Oil recovery using carbon dioxide could lead to a North Sea oil bonanza worth £150 billion ($240 billion) -- but only if the current infrastructure is enhanced now, according to a new study published by a world-leading energy expert.

A new calculation by Durham University of the net worth of the UK oil field shows that using carbon dioxide (CO2) to enhance the recovery from our existing North Sea oil fields could yield an extra three billion barrels of oil over the next 20 years. Three billion barrels of oil could power, heat and transport the UK for two years with every other form of energy switched off.

Importantly, at a time of rising CO2 emissions, the enhanced oil recovery process is just about carbon neutral with as much carbon being put back in the ground as will be taken out.

(Note the above: An economic burden placed on emitters of CO2, which is supposed to reduce atmospheric CO2, is, at best, only "carbon neutral" because the Oil pushed out by the CO2 is, ultimately, burned.)

The technique could yield an enormous amount of oil revenue at a time of public service cuts and developing the infrastructure would put the UK in the driving seat for developing enhanced recovery off-shore oil production around the world. It would also allow the UK to develop its carbon storage techniques in line with the UK government's commitments on emissions reductions.

(You don't suppose, that the "enormous amount of oil revenue" has anything, at all, to do with the "government's commitments on emissions reductions", do you?)

The study (was) presented Oct. 14, 2010, at a conference on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London. The new figures are conservative estimates and extend a previous calculation that predicted a 2.7 billion barrel yield from selected fields in the North Sea.

(That "2.7 billion" barrels is the "bonanza" that Oil producers, in the North Sea, will realize when Coal, and the beneficiaries of Coal-based products, are burdened with the costs of supplying those Oil producers with reclaimed Carbon Dioxide.)

The UK Government's Energy Statement, published in April 2010, outlines the continued role that fossil fuels will have to play in the UK energy mix. CO2 enhanced oil recovery in the UK would secure supplies for the next 20 years.

Jon Gluyas, a Professor in CCS & Geo-Energy, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, who has calculated the new figures, said: "Time is running out to make best use of our precious remaining oil reserves because we're losing vital infrastructure as the oil fields decline and are abandoned. Once the infrastructure is removed, we will never go back and the opportunity will be wasted.

"We need to act now to develop the capture and transportation infrastructure to take the CO2 to where it is needed. This would be a world-leading industry using new technology to deliver carbon dioxide to the North Sea oil fields. We must begin to do this as soon as possible before it becomes too expensive to do so.

"My figures are at the low end of expectations but they show that developing this technology could lead to a huge rejuvenation of the North Sea. The industrial CO2 output from Aberdeen to Hull is all you need to deliver this enhanced oil recovery."

(We must ask: How much Carbon Dioxide reduction could be realized, in any case, even disregarding leakage and the return of CO2 to the atmosphere through the burning of recovered petroleum, if the entire North Sea oil field can handle only the "industrial CO2 output from" two modestly-sized cities?)

Carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burnt and the UK Government plans to collect it from power stations in the UK. Capturing and storing carbon dioxide is seen as a way to prevent global warming and ocean acidification. Old oil and gas fields, such as those in the North Sea, are considered to be likely stores.

Enhanced oil recovery using carbon dioxide (CO2 EOR) adds further value to the potential merits of CCS.

(It is the only "potential merit", we contend; and, it ain't very danged meritorious.)

Oil is usually recovered by flushing oil wells through with water at pressure. Since the 1970s oil fields in West Texas, USA, have been successfully exploited using carbon dioxide. CO2 is pumped as a fluid into oil fields at elevated pressure and helps sweep the oil to the production wells by contacting parts of the reservoirs not accessed by water injection; the result is much greater oil production.

(The word "exploited", as above, is the right one to use. When it comes to CO2 geologic sequestration, it has broad application. The West Texas Oil wells won't be the only things that are being "exploited".)

Experience from the USA shows that an extra four to twelve per cent of the oil in place can be extracted using CO2-EOR. Professor Gluyas calculated the total oil in place in the UK fields and the potential UK gain in barrels and revenue from existing reserves using the American model.

"There is a unique opportunity to develop a new offshore industry using our considerable experience in offshore engineering. This would give us a technical lead on injecting and monitoring CO2 that we could then export to the wider world to establish the UK as a world leader in carbon capture and storage technology."

Professor Gluyas added: "Enhanced recovery of oil in the North Sea oil fields can secure our energy suppliesfor the next fifty years. The extra 3 billion barrels of oil that could be produced by enhanced CO2 recovery would make us self sufficient and would add around 60bn in revenue to the Treasury."


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