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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Jul 1, 2013 2:23 PM Flag

    Moniz: CO2 could enhance US oil by millions of barrels a day (video)

    Moniz: CO2 could enhance US oil by millions of barrels a day (video)

    July 1, 2013 at 10:02 am by Jennifer A. Dlouhy

    The future of coal-fired power may lie in still-developing technology to capture the carbon dioxide it produces and put it to work in the oil field, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz suggested.

    In an interview with Platts Energy Week, Moniz talked up the potential not just for capturing and storing the carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels, but using more of it to glean oil from aging fields. Oil and gas companies are already using the method — known as enhanced oil recovery — around the United States, but Moniz sees it ramping up significantly.

    “We’re producing about 300,000 barrels per day using carbon dioxide to enhance oil recovery from older fields,” Moniz told the energy news show. “The estimates are that could increase by a factor of 10 to about 3 million barrels a day.”

    But that would require a whole lot more carbon dioxide — about 600 megatons per year. And according to Moniz, “we could only get that by capturing it from industrial sources, power plants.”

    CBO: Future bleak for carbon-cutting technology

    The Energy Department is working to accelerate some enhanced oil recovery technology and operations. For instance, it has provided about $431 million toward a project at Valero’s refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, where carbon dioxide is now being extracted from two steam methane reformers, then dried, compressed and shipped to the West Hastings oil field 20 miles south of Houston.

    Pumping the greenhouse gas underground has two benefits: Not only does it help pull more crude out of the site, but it also indefinitely stores the carbon dioxide underground.

    The Port Arthur project involves just 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year — which puts the potential scale of future efforts in perspective.

    But carbon capture technology is still a long way from being commercially viable. The Energy Department is expected to play a major

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