CARBON CAPTURE: READING BETWEEN THE LINES
The folks in Tulsa are justifiably happy to learn their local power plant will be capturing 1.5 million tons of CO2 for pumping back into slow wells to enhance oil recovery (EOR). It no doubt means a potential boon to the region’s slowing oil industry. Oil and gas account for $1 billion in Oklahoma tax revenues, though average well production is down to 3 barrels/day.
Here’s the thing: According to the new CARMA database, the two-unit Oklahoma plant produces 5.7+ million tons of CO2 every year so they’re only capturing a quarter of the total spew. And when the CO2 gets pumped back into the oil wells, it’s not just going to stay down there. It’s got to either come back up as gas, mix with the oil and come out in the refining process or leech into the soil.
The point: Enhanced recovery may be good for the oil industry but “clean coal” still sounds like an oxymoron to NewEnergyNews.
Capturing carbon; AEP-PSO program to route CO2 to state oil fields
Jason Womack, November 18, 2007 (Tulsa World)
American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma; SemGreen of SemGroup LP;
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) using CO2 is not a new or complicated idea. Whether it solves the problem of emissions is another question. (click to enlarge)
AEP/PSC will sell captured CO2 to SemGreen for pumping into slowing oil wells to enhance recovery.
- A memorandum of understanding between AEP/PSC and SemGroup LP was signed in October to do the project.
- The capture technology is expected to be installed and operational by 2012.
- The power plant is the Northeastern Station in Oologah, Oklahoma.
- AEP is based in Columbus, Ohio.
- This is reportedly the largest project of its kind in the US.
- Primary olil well recovery, from the natural pressure released by drilling, gets 10% of a well’s oil. Secondary recovery from pumping in water gets up the total up to 40% of the well’s oil. Tertiary recovery, pumping in CO2 to lower the remaining substance’s viscosity, gets the total up to 60%. But previous sources of CO2 for EOR have been expensive.
- It is hoped the sale of the inexpensive captured CO2 for reuse will provide a revenue stream to fund the capture technology installation.
- AEP is one of the biggest CO2 emitters in the US and 7th biggest in the world.
Capturing CO2, even as schematized in this oversimplified diagram, is quite complicated and no process claims to capture anything close to all the emissions. To say nothing of the emissions generated in mining and transporting the coal. (click to enlarge)
- Stuart Solomon, president/coo, AEP-PSO: "This is the kind of technology that will allow coal power plants to operate into the future…"
- Pat Hemlepp, spokesman, AEP: "Carbon capture is going to be an expensive proposition…Anything that we can do to reduce the cost to our customers is beneficial to us and our customers."
- Greg West, vp, EOR practitioners Sandridge Energy: "The primary reason that it isn't widely used is that there hasn't been a reasonably priced source…"