- © 2001. AAPG/DEG
Three petroleum extraction technologies offer potential for largescale, low-cost, and long-term sequestration of carbon dioxide. Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) using CO2 injection is a commercially proven process with more than 120 Gt of “value added” CO2 sequestration potential worldwide. Enhanced gas recovery (EGR) using CO2 injection is conceptually feasible but has not yet undergone testing. Depleted natural gas fields offer more than 750 Gt of moderate-cost CO2 sequestration potential, not including EGR. Enhanced coal-bed methane (ECBM) recovery using CO2 injection is undergoing pilot testing in the United States, with favorable early results. ECBM could be used to sequester more than 150 Gt of CO2 in coal basins worldwide. Challenges facing large-scale application of geologic sequestration in hydrocarbon fields include: (1) high capture and processing costs of anthropogenic CO2; (2) inadequate understanding of many petroleum and coal reservoirs, particularly in frontier areas; (3) rigorous monitoring and verification to convince regulators and the public at large that sequestration is secure and long term; (4) achieving recognition and certification from emissions trading systems; and (5) resolving operational conflicts between sequestration and enhanced recovery. These challenges could be overcome by building on existing technologies from the EOR, underground gas storage, and natural CO2 production and transportation industries and by targeted basic and applied R&D.
Key Words: CO2, geologic sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, enhanced coal-bed methane recovery, economics.
Scott H. Stevens is Vice President with Advanced Resources International, Inc., a petroleum E&P consulting firm. Mr. Stevens has 17 years of experience in applied geologic and reservoir evaluation of petroleum fields, particularly for coal-bed methane, EOR, and gas storage. For the past 3 years, he has researched the application of petroleum technology for the geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide. Mr. Stevens holds an A.M. in Economics from Harvard and an M.S. in Geological Sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Mr. Kuuskraa is the President of Advanced Resources International Inc., a firm that specializes on the geology, engineering, and economics of natural gas and oil supply. He has authored over 100 technical papers and reports on energy supply and economics. He recently participated in the President’s Energy and Trade Missions to China, India, and South Africa.
John Gale has been associated with the energy industry for 25 years, working initially for the British Coal Corporation and more recently undertaking international consultancy work in the energy and environmental sector. He joined the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme last year, and he is now the project manager responsible for managing studies on the program’s activities on non-CO2 greenhouse gases, greenhouse gas abatement in energy-intensive industries, and geological sequestration of CO2. In addition, he represents the program on a number of practical R&D projects such as SACS, WeyburnCO2 Monitoring, and the Alberta CO2ECBM project.
Mr. Beecy is Director, Office of Environmental Systems, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy. He is responsible for program planning of R&D on technologies to resolve environmental concerns and to address mitigation of climate change concerns, including DOE’s Carbon Sequestration Program. Mr. Beecy also serves as the United States Representative to the Executive Committee of the International Energy Agency’s Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme.