Industry, government and organizational leaders last week in Washington, DC launched a national initiative aimed at increasing the supply of domestic oil produced through enhanced oil recovery using carbon dioxide (CO2-EOR). The EOR Initiative is facilitated by the Great Plains Institute (GPI) and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
The fiscal struggles facing federal and state governments combined with a challenging political climate demand new ideas for US energy policy. The diverse interests represented in this group offer a unique opportunity to secure broad support for sensible policies that increase domestic oil supply and limit emissions—a win for our nation’s economy, security, and the climate.—Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
In CO2-EOR, carbon dioxide is injected into oil wells to help draw more oil to the surface, while the carbon dioxide remains underground in deep geologic formations. Expanding CO2-EOR will increase domestic production from already developed oil fields, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating economic opportunities, the proponents say.
The EOR Initiative intends to marshal support from diverse constituencies for accelerated nationwide expansion of CO2-EOR projects. Reasonable policies to advance CO2-EOR could produce significant amounts of new oil and advance the development of infrastructure needed for long-term carbon capture and storage. An estimated 35-50 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil could be produced in the United States using currently available CO2-EOR technologies and practices, or potentially more than twice the country’s proved reserves, according to the advocates for the initiative.
The EOR Initiative includes executives from oil and gas, electric power, ethanol, pipeline and other industry sectors; state officials; technical experts; and environmental advocates. The group will develop recommendations for federal and state policymakers on how to ramp up CO2-EOR to improve US energy security, create economic opportunities, support high-paying jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The slate of recommendations is expected to be released in early 2012.
Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and John Hoeven (R-ND), and Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX) helped kick off the EOR Initiative. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) offered written statements in support of the initiative.
We know where the oil is, we just need the CO2 to help produce it. We are the only company engaged in commercial CO2-EOR in the Great Lakes Region, and we have a limited amount of CO2. With additional supplies of sufficient volumes of CO2 we could produce a significant amount of oil, providing much needed jobs and revenue to local economies.—Robert Mannes, President and CEO of Michigan-based Core Energy, LLC
Financial support for the EOR Initiative is provided by the Joyce Foundation, the Edgerton Foundation and the Energy Foundation. Additional funding is being sought from foundations, industry, and other private-sector sources.
EOR has the potential to bring Americans together around a common agenda of energy security, job creation, and environmental stewardship, and overcome the energy policy gridlock that’s putting our nation at risk.—Brad Crabtree, Policy Director at the Great Plains Institute