A group of industry executives, state officials, and technical experts on Tuesday unveiled recommendations from the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative, a comprehensive effort to increase the efficiency of producing and using the nation's oil resources while sequestering carbon dioxide.
The EOR Initiative is a working group comprised of key leaders from business, states and non-governmental organizations that are working together to tackle a key piece of America's overall energy security challenge: increasing the supply of domestic oil through enhanced oil recovery using carbon dioxide.
"The Department of Energy has estimated that standard oil recovery techniques leave as much as 80 percent of the original oil in place. As a result, our country has tens of billions of barrels of oil in existing oil fields that, until now, has been out of reach," said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. "Using CO2 enhanced oil recovery significantly increases the efficiency of oil recovery, resulting in a win-win situation that would increase domestic oil production while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions in a fiscally responsible manner."
In CO2-EOR, carbon dioxide is injected into oil wells to help draw more oil to the surface, while the carbon dioxide remains sequestered underground in deep geologic formations.
Conrad has long been a strong advocate of comprehensive energy legislation that calls for significantly greater use of homegrown natural resources, including North Dakota's significant supply of oil and natural gas.
North Dakota is home to the world's largest carbon sequestration project. Basin Electric Power Cooperative owns and operates the Great Plains Synfuels Plant, which delivers CO2 to an oil field in Saskatchewan. The plant is located near Beulah.
The CO2 is injected to extend the field's productive life by 25 years and produce an additional 130 million barrels of oil. Experts maintain that using CO2 enhanced oil recovery could triple the nation's economically recoverable oil resources.