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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019 / CO2-enhanced oil recovery and CO2 capture and storage: An environmental economic trade-off analysis

Pieter Roefs, Michele Moretti, Kris Welkenhuysen, Kris Piessens and Tine Compernolle (2019)

CO2-enhanced oil recovery and CO2 capture and storage: An environmental economic trade-off analysis

Journal of Environmental Management, 239:167-177.

CO2 enhanced oil recovery can play a significant role in stimulating carbon capture and storage because of additional oil revenues generated. However, it also leads to additional greenhouse gas emissions. We estimate the global warming potential of different CO2 capture scenarios with and without enhanced oil recovery. During a 10 year period in which oil and electricity are produced without CO2 being captured, the global warming potential is 11 MtCO2 equivalents. We show that if CO2 is captured and used for 15 years of enhanced oil recovery, the global warming potential decreases to 3.4 MtCO2 equivalents. This level is 100% higher compared to the scenario in which the captured CO2 would be stored in an offshore aquifer instead. If the capture of CO2 is stopped when the oil reservoir is depleted, the global warming potential resulting from 10 years electricity production is 6 MtCO2 equivalents. However, if CO2 is stored in the depleted reservoir, the global warming potential is six times lower during that period. Electricity production and oil refining are the main contributors to the global warming potential. The net present value analysis indicates that for CO2 prices lower than or equal to 15 €/t and oil prices greater than or equal to 115 €/t, it is most profitable to capture CO2 for enhanced oil recovery only. Because of the low CO2 price considered, large incomes from oil production are required to stimulate CO2 capture. The environmental economic trade-off analysis shows that if CO2-enhanced oil recovery is followed by CO2 capture and storage, costs increase, but the net present value remains positive and the global warming potential is reduced. Authorities could use these outcomes to support the development of economic mechanisms for shared investments in CO2 capture installations and to mandate both oil producer and large CO2 emitting firms to store CO2 in depleted oil fields.
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