EOR could yield 3 billion bbl additional North Sea oil

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 28 -- Oil recovery using carbon dioxide could lead to production of an extra 3 billion bbl of oil in the North Sea, according to a new study published by an academic energy expert.

“Enhanced recovery of oil in the North Sea oil fields can secure our energy supplies for the next 50 years,” said Jon Gluyas, a professor of carbon capture and storage at the UK’s Durham University.

US experience shows an additional 4-12% of oil in place can be extracted using CO2 EOR. Using the US model, Gluyas calculated total oil in place in the UK fields and the potential UK gain in barrels and revenue from existing reserves.

“The extra 3 billion bbl of oil that could be produced by enhanced CO2 recovery would make us self sufficient,” said Gluyas, whose study was funded by DONG Energy (UK) Ltd. and Ikon Science Ltd.

“Priming the system now would mean we have 10-15 years to develop CO2 recycling and sufficient time to help us bridge to a future serviced by renewable energy,” Gluyas said.

“We need to act now to develop the capture and transportation infrastructure to take the CO2 to where it is needed,” said Gluyas. He added, “This would be a world-leading industry using new technology to deliver CO2 to the North Sea oil fields.”

David Hanstock, a founding director of Progressive Energy and director of Coots Ltd., which is developing an offshore CO2 transport and storage infrastructure in the North Sea, said, “The UK has significant storage capacity potential for captured CO2 in North Sea oil and gas fields,” he said.

Hanstock said, “There is a unique opportunity to develop a new offshore industry using our considerable experience in offshore engineering. This would give us a technical lead on injecting and monitoring CO2 that we could then export to the wider world to establish the UK as a world leader in carbon capture and storage technology."

Earlier this year, a report by Advanced Resources International, Arlington, Va., said US climate legislation, if enacted, potentially could lead to large volumes of captured CO2 from power plants and other industrial sources, consequently accelerating enhanced oil recovery and boosting oil production (OGJ Online, Mar. 11, 2010). However, an expected Republican landslide in the mid-term US elections Nov. 2 could set back such legislation.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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