Carbon dioxide (CO2) continues to garner a lot of media and technical attention—both good and bad. I want to look at the global big picture of CO2, more specifically its uses and applications.
Global emissions of CO2 resulting from the use of fossil fuels amount to approximately 35 billion tons per year. How much of this can we capture? How much can we store or sequester? And, perhaps the most important question: How much will it cost and who will pay?
It is the last question that needs some attention and discussion. Anyone conversant with CO2 will quickly tell you that pure sequestration will be difficult and challenging because there are no revenues. It is an area that all mankind should work on. In the short term, carbon capture and storage (CCS) has to be CCUS where the “U” stands for “usage.”
So what are some of the current uses of CO2? They include
- CO2 for enhanced oil and gas recovery
- Commercial use in the fertilizer, polymer, beverage, and liquid-fuel industries
- Biological-activity enhancement
- Mineralization or permanent sequestration in cements
How much of the emitted man-made CO2 can be used with these applications? It is only a very small fraction—by some estimates less than 1%.
Another point to note is that, among these highlighted uses, CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is by far the most dominant application. We should all play our part in addressing and reducing the challenges associated with the current applications and, most importantly, in developing cost-effective new CO2 use and sequestration technologies. Sequestration of CO2 poses significant challenges. Each and every one of us is obligated to do our small part in ensuring that we address these challenges to the benefit of mankind. Some of the papers that follow address these challenges through demonstration projects. SPE is perfectly placed in terms of providing best practices and a platform for sharing the development and deployment of these innovative technologies.
This Month's Technical Papers
Recommended Additional Reading
IPTC 18843 Galvanizing Stakeholder Support for CSS by W. Maas, Shell, et al.
SPE 185033 Permanently Sequester Anthropogenic CO2—Through Hydraulic Fracturing by M.M. Reynolds, Ferus, et al.
SPE/AFRC 2572863 Innovations in Carbon Dioxide Capture and Sequestration for Operations, Engineering, and Technology by Simiyu E. Lilian, Kenyatta University, et al.
Sunil Kokal, SPE, Principal Professional, Saudi Aramco
01 July 2017
Major Operators Submit Plans for Northern Lights JV
An investment decision this year would sanction Norway’s first CO2 storage project. Phase 1 is expected to be operational in 2024.
Omani- and Shell-Backed Solar EOR Firm Runs Out of Steam
GlassPoint Solar was founded in 2008 to replace the use of natural gas for steamflooding heavy-oil reservoirs. But amid low energy prices, its chief investor has decided to pull the plug for good.
Polymer-Flood Field Pilot Enhances Recovery of Heavy Oils on Alaska’s North Slope
Although polymer flooding has become a promising enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique, no field tests have been performed to date in Alaska’s underdeveloped heavy-oil reservoirs.
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