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New Project Disposes of Carbon Dioxide, Helps Extract More Oil

December 28, 2005

The energy industry has launched a new pilot program that helps dispose of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) by pumping back into the underground oil reservoirs from where it came, according to Wired News.Five million tons of CO2 has been successfully pumped underground into the Weyburn oil filed in Saskatchewan, Canada from the Great Plains Synfuels plant in Beulah, South Dakota. Synfuels takes more than 6 million tons of coal annually and turns it into 54 billion cubic feet of natural gas.Because the pressure from the gas helps to extract more oil, the field’s oil recovery rate has been doubled, and its life extended for another 20 years according to the U.S. Department of Energy.Weyburn is part of a $1 billion international CO2-injection venture that has the petroleum industry extremely interested – especially as gas prices continue to climb. In Western Canada alone, pumping CO2 into oil fields could yield billions of barrels of additional oil while reducing CO2 emissions at a rate comparable to pulling more than 200 million cars off the road for a year said U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman in the report.Similar projects are set to go forward in Texas and several other states, and other associated projects, such as the DoE’s plan to build a zero-emission coal power plant by 2013, are also currently in the works.
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