Last week in Jackson, Mississippi, Rice University and Mississippi State University combined to host a symposium on Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). The symposium brought together experts from around the world to focus attention on the growing potential of the use of carbon dioxide in EOR. Already, carbon dioxide is being used today for half of all enhanced oil recovery in Mississippi, making the state a natural location for this public discussion.
Experts at the symposium testified that EOR has the potential to increase oil recovery anywhere from 30 percent to 60 percent from secondary recovery methods. This is oil not secured through the “first pass” of conventional oil drilling. In past years, oil companies have had to rely on naturally occurring carbon dioxide reserves to use in EOR, which limited them to the amount of the carbon dioxide in the ground. Recently, though, industry and oil companies are working together to use CO2 captured from industrial plants, opening up new avenues of oil production. By using these methods, the new partnership would provide an unlimited supply of CO2 for EOR while reducing emissions at facilities using carbon capture technology.
“CCUS [Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage] is good for the environment and good for business. As Americans you shouldn’t have to pick one or the other,” said Charles McConnell, moderator of the event, and Executive Director of the Energy and Environment Initiative at Rice University. “It’s not a question of if we’re going to use fossil fuels, it’s how. Energy demand will double by 2050. This is an example of how energy can be so transformative. “
Mississippi, in particular, has benefitted from advances in EOR. Seeing the state’s once-robust oil industry failing, industry leaders and state officials helped revitalize the state’s oil production through EOR. Today, 47 percent of Mississippi’s oil is recovered using EOR.
“It’s amazing the success we’re having with EOR,” said Gov. Phil Bryant. “It’s going to be the next big thing for us in Mississippi.”
As PACE has written about in recent months, the Kemper County energy facility, which captures 65 percent of emissions, will soon be piping carbon dioxide to companies in the use of enhanced oil recovery. This development will provide oil companies in the region with a continuous source of CO2 to further increase oil production, helping to make the United States even more energy secure.