This paper provides substantial and compelling evidence from API (American Petroleum Institute) CCS (Carbon Capture & Storage) Work Group and other studies of CO2 EOR (enhanced oil recovery) and CCS projects showing that CO2 capture, transport, and (GS) geologic-sequestration can be a safe and effective method to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions and mitigate climate change. The paper summarizes how the oil and gas (O&G) industry has achieved great success in engineering the process to capture, transport, and inject CO2 in EOR projects. This success is seen in over 37 years of safe and environmentally friendly large-scale operations, lessons learned, technical advancements, and millions of tons of CO2 injected. Third party investigations to evaluate this successful record are discussed, including some completed ones that have published statements validating the O&G industry's success. Now that CCS is being widely considered and a few countries have begun to implement commercial-scale CCS projects, technology transfer efforts such as this paper are needed to share the experience of the oil and gas industry and the major contribution it can make as part of the solution for climate change.
Since the first patent for CO2 EOR was granted in 1952 (Whorton), the O&G industry has spent many tens of billions of dollars developing and implementing CO2 EOR technologies, asset development, and operational experience. As new sources of CO2 have become available, field testing and demonstration or pilot project activities have been conducted. These development and improvement efforts have been continuous since the first project in 1964. The first large-scale, commercial CO2 EOR project began operations in 1972 at the SACROC field in West Texas, which continues in operation today. Many more have started since then and by 2008 had reached a total of 112 projects, as reported in the EOR Survey by the Oil and Gas Journal (O&GJ, 2008). Since 1952, numerous patents, best practices, equipment, and products have been developed for CO2 EOR well construction and injection/production operations. Innovative, cost-effective materials, equipment, and methods continue to be developed and implemented such as the recent introduction of real-time, smart-well operations at SACROC. Much of this knowledge has been documented in hundreds of technical papers and several books that have been published on the subject including many applicable API standards and specifications.
CO2 EOR Technology for CCS Deployment.
Underground geological storage of CO2 is a promising technology for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions because much of the technology developed by the oil and gas industry associated with natural gas processing and CO2 EOR can support the sound implementation of CCS and huge storage capacity exists in deep saline formations, depleted oil and gas reservoirs, and unmineable coal seams. According to a major report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2005), as much as 55 percent of a worldwide GHG mitigation effort thru 2100 could be achieved through carbon capture and storage. The IPCC also expresses confidence that CO2 can be stored safely over very long periods of time and cites several studies as evidence that the potential for leakage decreases the longer the CO2 is underground.