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Case study: Gaining confidence in CCS through EOR

ExxonMobil’s experience in using CO2 for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) – a process that maximises production of oil from mature fields – provides a source of knowledge important to the advancement of CCS.

EOR begins with CO2 that is produced from natural sources or captured at a nearby power plant or other industrial facility. The CO2 is compressed and injected into an oil reservoir, where it acts like “thinner,” pushing oil to nearby production wells. The most successful example of CO2-based EOR is in the Permian Basin of west Texas, where significant investment by ExxonMobil and others has resulted in the recovery of an additional 1 billion barrels of oil production. Approximately 25 per cent of today’s production in the Permian Basin is generated by CO2 enhanced oil recovery.

The implementation of a wide range of EOR technologies in geographically diverse locations has given ExxonMobil an unparalleled depth of knowledge relating to CO2 storage. ExxonMobil has more than 30 years of global experience in established methodologies for designing wells and well locations for CO2 storage and the mechanisms for ensuring their integrity.

ExxonMobil engineers and scientists now are researching the storage and injection requirements of diverse types of storage sites, using proprietary technologies to determine the long-term viability of various geologic formations.

The capacity of deep saline aquifers, for example, is significantly larger than current oil and gas reservoirs and coal beds.

Through its investment in EOR projects today, ExxonMobil will continue to gain knowledge of safe CO2 storage techniques – the cornerstone of a commercially viable, successful CCS programme.

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