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Enhanced oil recovery and CO2:ecological aspect?

  1. Sep 27, 2010 #1

    DrDu

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    I came about a rather discomforting company description (Enhanced oil resources Inc.) which seem to own the claim on a huge CO2 containing geological formation:
    http://www.enhancedoilres.com/company.htm [Broken]
    Apparently they plan to exploit this formation which contains an estimated amount of 15 trillion tons of CO2 to use the CO2 to extract oil from nearly empty oil formations (they speak of "enhanced oil recovery" EOR technology) and to separate the helium content.
    So, while in other areas people are discussing to store excess CO2 from coal power plants in geological formations, some companies in the US even open existing CO2 formations with the benediction of the DOE. How does that fit together?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 27, 2010 #2

    Bystander

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    From the link, "...estimated by third party engineers to contain up to 15 trillion cubic feet of CO2 in place with potential recoverable reserves of up to 5 trillion cubic feet. " Standard cubic feet, not tons --- works out to around 500 million tons.
     
  4. Sep 27, 2010 #3
    The feasibility of any of the two methods touches on a banned subject and can't be discussed.
     
  5. Sep 27, 2010 #4

    berkeman

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    Thread temporarily closed pending moderation.

    EDIT -- Thread reopened. Please avoid bringin up climate change, and the thread should be okay.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
  6. Sep 28, 2010 #5

    DrDu

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    Thanks bystander, the cubic feet slipped my attention.
    I do not want to discuss whether CO2 is responsible for climate change or not. I would like to know something about the economic and geological background of this project.
    I wonder what is the reasoning behind opening a natural deposit instead of using e.g. the output of carbon power plants.
    As far as I know, the helium price is very low at the moment due to the US selling off their strategic stock. So helium alone can't be the answer.
    My second question is about how much of the CO2 used in enhanced oil recovery will end up in the atmosphere and how much stay in the deposits.
    Finally, I suppose that these operations need some oficial expertize, I suppose by the DOE in that case. Are these publicly accessible?
     
  7. Sep 28, 2010 #6
    That's why it can't be discussed, if this was to be relevant or not.
     
  8. Sep 28, 2010 #7

    DrDu

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    CO2 bilance is a very important economical factor. I want to understand the economical premises of "enhanced oil recovery" technology.
    I think discussion of CO2 bilance is quite independent from the discussion of whether CO2 induces global warming or climate change.
     
  9. Sep 28, 2010 #8

    D H

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    Helium.

    Not for long, though. Helium prices are forecast to jump by a factor of 20, and maybe much more than that, in a few years once the US recoups the costs of its helium storage project. And possibly sooner; the 1996 act that resulted in the current policy is now receiving close scrutiny from both parties.

    Helium is almost inevitably a small part of natural gas and CO2 deposits. What to do with the natural gas? Simple: Capture and sell it. What to do with the CO2? Simple: Just let it go into the atmosphere. There is a problem with this simple solution: The EPA is threatening to regulate CO2 emissions. So, capture and sequester it. That solution costs money instead of making money. So, sell the captured CO2: make it a profit center rather than a business cost. As the intended use is a form of sequestration, this will avoid entanglement with those pending EPA rules. It makes a lot of sense.

    OSHA, certainly. The EPA is going to want to stick their noses involved -- assuming that is that these pending regulations become real and assuming that the incoming Congress doesn't zero out the funding for these EPA plans. DOE? What would make you think that?
     
  10. Sep 28, 2010 #9

    DrDu

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    This topic is absolutely new to me and I don't know the american agencies involved too well.
    Certainly, ecological concerns will not be raised by DEA but if at all by EPA.
    Actually, I was interested in Helium producers when I stumbled into the EOR topic.
    On the DEA homepage I found this interesting brochure:
    http://www.netl.doe.gov/technologies/oil-gas/publications/brochures/CO2Brochure_Mar2006.pdf

    Here two paragraphs which sound rather amusing once you know what is meant with
    "other industrial producers of waste CO2".

    "Fossil fuel-fired power plants and other
    industrial producers of waste CO2 could find
    an attractive business opportunity in seques
    tering their greenhouse gas emissions by
    selling the waste CO2 to oil and gas field
    operators for enhanced recovery. Oil and
    gas fields’ capacity for sequestering CO2 is
    enormous. One study conducted for DOE
    estimated that the global sequestration
    capacity in depleted oil and gas fields
    equates to 125 years of current worldwide
    CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-fired power
    plants.
    As pressure builds to reduce CO2 emissions
    amid concerns over postulated climate
    change, future CO2 sequestration efforts are
    likely to be met with incentives such as fisca
    relief or emissions trading credits. That
    could help level the playing field between
    natural and industrial sources of CO2.
    Broadening use of industrial CO2, in turn,
    could expand the applicability of CO2
    EOR/EGR to other areas of the United
    States while “closing the carbon cycle.” A
    widespread campaign of CO2 EOR across
    the U.S. could ensue, if operators could
    obtain CO2 from industrial sources, such as
    power plants, at a reasonable cost."
     
  11. Sep 28, 2010 #10

    D H

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    Perhaps you could enlighten us as to why this is so amusing.
     
  12. Sep 28, 2010 #11

    Bystander

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    Again, stepping "out of bounds." Oil recovery or helium production are acceptable topics, "As pressure builds to reduce CO2 emissions
    amid concerns over postulated climate
    change
    , future CO2 sequestration efforts are
    likely to be met with incentives ...." is not (sorry about the brief interuption); it is a discussion of quantities to be regulated based on an assumption that "Global Climate Disruption" is a problem.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  13. Sep 29, 2010 #12

    DrDu

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    So what do you guess: How much of the CO2 extracted will end up sequestered in the Oil fields?
     
  14. Sep 29, 2010 #13

    Bystander

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    "Guess?" You're gonna have to come up with "the particulars" on the field --- open & pumped, open & flooded, producing formation geology (sand, sandstone, shale, limestone, fractured, previous stimulus), number of open wells & closed wells --- it's very case specific.

    Long term? None of it.
     
  15. Nov 26, 2010 #14
    Well, don’t know what exactly will happen in future, but there are many folks who claim use of CO2 for EOR could be a very big business – look at this post that claims http://powerplantccs.com/blog/2010/10/carbon-dioxide-for-oil-recovery-could-be-a-240-billion-business.html" [Broken].

    God knows how they came up with a number like that – sounds humungous – but it at least points to the fact that there is significant interest in this domain.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  16. Dec 2, 2010 #15
    I believe CO2 sequestration is more about enhanced methane producation from coal beds and gas fields than it is about banned topic matter. Having heard a few things from coworkers and acquaintances, CO2 injected into a coal bed will displace methane at high pressure. I'm sure there a lot of brilliant marketing and PR genuises out there who will turn it into something that it is not but for the future CO2 injection is all about natural gas production.
     
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