SPE IOR: Carbon dioxide is key option for carbon utilization

April 30, 2018
Enhanced oil recovery is the best option for putting carbon dioxide to commercial use, Charles D. McConnell, executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative, told the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Improved Oil Recovery conference in Tulsa on Apr. 16.

Enhanced oil recovery is the best option for putting carbon dioxide to commercial use, Charles D. McConnell, executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative, told the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Improved Oil Recovery conference in Tulsa on Apr. 16.

The US Department of Energy already uses the term carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) rather than carbon capture and storage (CCS), noted McConnell, former chief operating officer of the Office of Fossil Energy at the US Department of Energy.

Deployment of CCS technology has advanced beyond a simple focus on storage, said McConnell, who was among opening speakers at the biennial IOR symposium, sponsored by SPE’s Midcontinent section.

Sami Al-Nuaim, 2019 SPE president-elect, said he believes emerging crude-to-chemicals technology will increase oil demand, which will in turn spur new demand for CO2 EOR projects to supply additional oil.

Previously, Saudi Aramco signed an agreement to work with Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) to develop thermal crude-to-chemicals technology to directly convert crude oil into chemicals.

Addressing reporters during a news conference, Al-Nuaim emphasized he was speaking on behalf of himself rather than as a representative of Aramco, where he has worked in reservoir engineering, production engineering, and research and development.

As manager of Aramco’s Petroleum Engineering Application Services, he provides technical information technology support for upstream operations.

Gary A. Pope, a University of Texas petroleum engineering professor, said he foresees “a huge opportunity for oil companies to make specialized chemicals locally.” Pope expects more upstream-downstream integration within the industry although he added that, “it involves a lot of serious chemistry” that has yet to be done.