Research set to probe enhanced oil recovery and CCS

A new centre for CO2-enhanced oil recovery (EOR) was announced today by Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond along with the claim it would unlock £190m of 'hard-to-reach' oil from the North Sea, releasing new money for carbon capture & storage (CCS) development.

The centre’s remit is to develop understanding of EOR, potentially helping to extract three billion barrels of North Sea oil which might otherwise never be recovered, working in tandem with CCS as the process used to help drive the oil out.

“Some fields in the North Sea have good potential for injecting C02 into them to partly dissolve the oil, producing 15-20% extra oil than would otherwise be possible,” said Professor Stuart Haszeldine from the University of Edinburgh who will lead the new centre. “In effect we’d be using CO2 as a chemical solvent.”

Revenue raised from the extracted oil would then be fed back into CCS development as part of a self-funding cycle, he added.

“The extra oil revenue, taxed into the UK Exchequer, will offset the cost of CCS development. Our job will be to provide an impartial scientific analysis of this process, looking at the balance between the extra oil that is recovered and the increased C02 storage that becomes available.

“We will also be charged with making sure that the necessary regulations are put in place to make this a secure and safe operation.”

The centre, funded by the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise at just over £200,000 for the next two years, will be based in Edinburgh and will involve input from the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey.

Edie staff

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