Abstract

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrocarbons both occur as natural accumulations within the Earth and share an intertwined industrial history. Research in the 1950–1960s demonstrated that CO2 had potential as a miscible agent for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), but commercial-scale implementation of this method was limited by the availability of a large supply of inexpensive CO2. By the mid-1980s, CO2 from large natural occurrences in the southwestern U.S. was being transported by pipeline to oil fields in the Permian Basin of Texas, which allowed deployment of CO2 flooding as a large-scale tertiary EOR method. It is estimated that tertiary oil recovery using CO2 could add as much as 13 billion barrels to existing recoverable resources in the U.S. (USDOE, 2002).

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