Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) has been identified as a promising way of sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2). When CO2 that would otherwise be vented to the atmosphere is used in the process, the CO2 remaining in the ground represents a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The accurate quantification of the amount of CO2 sequestered is important as companies look to market the emission reductions associated with EOR operations. Purchasers of emission reductions need assurance that the reductions they are purchasing are real. Often, however, losses of CO2 and methane (CH4) during the operation of EOR projects are not fully considered in accounting for the emission reductions. While minor fugitive losses of CO2 may be accounted for, much larger losses that may occur as a result of the way equipment is configured or how facilities are operated are often ignored.

This paper presents a methodology for quantifying the net greenhouse GHG emission reductions resulting from enhanced oil recovery operations based on the observation of a range of operating facilities. It demonstrates the need to consider the operational aspects of the production facilities in quantifying the amount of GHG emission reductions. It concludes that losses of CO2 and CH4 in EOR operations may be large enough that unless they are fully considered, the magnitude of any claimed emission reductions may be subject to question.

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