Capturing man-made carbon dioxide and pumping it into the ground would not only help the environment, but also help the United States continue producing record amounts of oil.
Many people question how the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, released last week, could present a business opportunity for Texas companies. The answer is the state’s unique mix of carbon dioxide-producing industries and old oil wells that need a little help to keep producing.
Since the 1970s, Well operators have pumped carbon dioxide into old oil reservoirs to force out every last drop, a technique that falls into a broader category called enhanced oil recovery.
This approach often works so well that suppliers drill into naturally occurring pockets of carbon dioxide and pump 2.7 billion cubic feet per day via pipeline to older oil fields, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
That’s right: While the government is trying to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide Americans produce, companies are pumping it out of the ground and injecting it into wells, where most of it never comes back up. This produces 282,000 barrels of oil a day from fields once considered tapped out.