Home / Is filling empty oilfields with CO2 a good idea?

Is filling empty oilfields with CO2 a good idea?

by Kevin Baxter on Apr 19, 2009

The Sunday Times has reported that a new plan to build coal fired power stations in the UK depends on whether the carbon waste can be captured at the source, cooled and then transported to empty oilfields where it will be pumped underground. 

Two major European shipping companies are looking at a the feasibility of building specialst tankers to transport the the liquefied carbon waste.

The Middle East is a likely destination due to the vast number of oilfields in the area. Should Middle Eastern companies try to get ahead of the curve to take advantage of this eco-friendly initiative or is it yet more pie in the school by the European socks and sandals brigade?




What a great idea - this will achieve 3 - 4 things - 1) Dispose of the CO2, rather than pollute the atmosphere - the c


Readers' Comments

Pickard Trepess (Aug 17, 2011)

Filling old oil wells with CO2
What a great idea - this will achieve 3 - 4 things - 1) Dispose of the CO2, rather than pollute the atmosphere - the cost will be high, but there will be benefits - 2) The CO2 will pressurise the fields, stopping ground collapse and assiting to sweep remaining oil to other wells - 3) CO2 mingles readily with oil, and reduces its viscosity, so heavy oils will flow more easily in the reservoir - 4) CO2 dissolved in formation water is slighly acidic, so will slowly dissolve carbonates, maing oil flow through the rock more easily It's a win-win situation. I really hope it happens. As for the cost of transport - the oil & gas delivery ships are returning to the ME empty, so filling them with CO2 won't cost much more

S. Avinash (Feb 3, 2011) Bahrain

CO2 Logic
Perhaps the wider application of Dry Ice cleaning technology would be the rational and cost-effective alternative to UK. Likwise, since the Middle East is already embracing co-generation, the gaseous discharge could be harnessed to extract CO2 and put it for similar usage.

Kevin Baxter (Apr 23, 2009)
United Arab Emirates

To Bob D
Hi, I'm the online editor of Arabianoilandgas.com. I can answer half of your question. If they use a vessel similar to the Q-Max, the tanker currently used for transporting LNG, they could ship 9.5 million cubic feet of CO2 in each journey. I haven't been able to find out how much CO2 would be used transporting it from the UK to the Middle East, but I will endeavour to find that out asap. I believe it would be far far less than 9.5 million cubic feet however. Thanks for your comments everyone.

Bob D (Apr 22, 2009)
United Arab Emirates

Explain for me
Forgive me please, I'm not very technical. How much of the world's daily CO2 output can you shove into a single tanker. How much CO2 would each tanker create making the journey from UK to the Middle East?

alain cokkinos (Apr 20, 2009) France

CO2 is gas. Oil is liquid. When pump in a depleated oil reservoir better to be ready for big surprises. Reservoirs are full of cracks, and the ability for CO2 to move along them are far better than for the produced oil. alain

Nick (Apr 20, 2009)
United Arab Emirates

To Ahmed
I know what you are saying but if we wait for a co-ordinated approach I fear we will be waiting forever. If the UK takes the lead on this kind of initiative and it sparks others into action then - assuming the climate benefits would be worth it - it should be applauded and will hopefully encourage the likes of China and India to follow.

Nikos (Apr 20, 2009)

Middle East will like it
You won't hear much bad written about this idea from Middle East. They will never speak ill of the hydrocarbons industry. Anything to keep their Mercedes running is ok with them. They don't care if it's green, red. blue or purple - as long as it makes them money it's okay.

Ahmed (Apr 20, 2009)
Saudi Arabia

Good but flawed
In theory it is a good idea, but what is the point of the UK doing it when India and China don't? They need to agree also otherwise it makes no difference.

Andy Flood (Apr 20, 2009)

Makes no commercial sense
Who is going to pay for the refineries to turn the gas into liquid? This is a commercial nonsense - anyone with two eyes in their head and half a brain can see that.


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