We propose a new framework for energy policy on a national and global scale for exploring further advances of CO2-EOR that promotes a "triple-e" approach:
environmental quality, and
Increasing the use of CO2-EOR can reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, create jobs, and help generate electricity to meet domestic demand. Understanding CO2-EOR and the opportunities and challenges it brings is therefore essential for both policymakers and consumers.
There are always two sides to a story, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is no exception. On one side, CO2 is presented as a greenhouse gas (GHG), and preventing its release drives the policy of some government agencies. On the other side, CO2 is an essential nutrient necessary for plant growth and, more recently, has been recognized in the energy sector as a valuable commodity to enhance recovery in utilization operations, such as CO2 enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR), enhanced gas recovery (CO2-EGR), and enhanced coal bed methane recovery (CO2-ECBMR).
CO2-EOR is a mature technology and currently generates around 300,000 barrels of oil each day in the United States. It is a contributing factor to the recent boom in U.S. oil, which has resulted in lower gasoline prices. However, CO2-EOR's potential for energy security is largely untapped. Exploring new opportunities and technological improvements for increased CO2 storage in EOR operations can significantly increase the volume of its generated oil and improve applicability of technology as a revenue generator for CO2 capture and a large-scale CO2 storage option.
Energy security calls for comprehensive use of all of our nation's energy sources, including fossil fuels. But fossil fuels, especially coal, have become controversial because of their high level of CO2 emissions. Many power plants have replaced coal with natural gas to mitigate CO2 emissions. The United States and the world have also pushed for renewable energy as an effort to control CO2 emissions under the overall banner of slowing down global warming.