Initiatives

March 2012 Newsletter

Click here to view our March 2012 newsletter.

Learn about new EPA power plant rules, an action plan to get more electric vehicles on the road, recommendations from the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Intiative to boost domestic oil production while cutting CO2 emissions from power plants, and more in C2ES's March 2012 newsletter.

Bloomberg Editors Endorse NEORI Recommendation

March 27, 2012
Bloomberg Editorial

In a March 27 editorial, Bloomberg editors addressed how the U.S. can learn from China's push for capturing carbon and highlighted the work of the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI), a group of industry, state, environmental and labor leaders convened by C2ES and the Great Plains Institute. In the piece, Bloomberg endorses NEORI’s recommendation that Congress create a production tax credit for power companies that capture CO2 and send it to oil companies for enhanced oil recovery. Below is an excerpt from the editorial.

The federal government, too, could help push the technology forward, by taking up a smart strategy that has been suggested by a coalition of oil industry executives, environmentalists and state officials called the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative. It has to do with the other side of the carbon- capture equation -- what to do with the CO2 once you’ve taken it out of the power-plant exhaust.

China’s Huaneng plant sells its carbon dioxide to companies that make carbonated drinks and dry ice. Duke envisions turning it into solid carbonate to be used for building materials or road construction. Some innovators are feeding CO2 to microscopic algae to produce either fuel or proteins used in nutrition supplements or animal feed.

But it can also be used to coax more oil out of the earth. Since 1972, oil companies have injected carbon dioxide taken from natural sources to free up crude trapped in rock formations. The industry operates 3,900 miles of pipelines carrying 65 million tons of CO2 per year, and “enhanced oil recovery,” as the technique is known, accounts for 6 percent of U.S. oil production.

With new technology and enough CO2, the industry could use enhanced recovery to increase production by 67 billion to 137 billion barrels, according to a report from the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative. The report envisions using 20 billion to 45 billion metric tons of CO2 from carbon capture -- the total amount expected to be produced by power plants for the next 10 to 20 years.

We endorse the coalition’s recommendation that Congress create a production tax credit for power companies that capture CO2 and send it to oil companies for enhanced recovery. By increasing domestic oil production, such a credit is estimated to be able to pay for itself within a decade.

Click here to read the full editorial

 

Capturing CO2 Emissions to Produce Domestic Oil: NEORI and CO2-EOR’s Unique Solution

Bloomberg editors endorse NEORI's production tax credit recommendations

Few policy options can be a win-win for both political parties, as well as industry, environmental advocates, and labor. Similarly, increasing oil production and decreasing carbon emissions are thought of as conflicting goals. Yet, a solution may be on the horizon. On February 28, the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) released its recommendations for advancing enhanced oil recovery with carbon dioxide (CO2-EOR). NEORI is a broad coalition of industry, state officials, labor, and environmental advocates

While NEORI participants might not agree on many energy and environmental issues, each participant recognizes the vast potential of CO2-EOR and worked toward producing a set of policy recommendations for its expansion. CO2-EOR already produces 6 percent of U.S. oil, and it could potentially double or triple existing U.S. oil reserves. In comparison to other options, CO2-EOR offers an extraordinarily large potential expansion of domestic oil production, while also advancing an important environmental technology.

Judi Greenwald Discusses Enhanced Oil Recovery on E&E TV

Watch the interview

March 6, 2012

Is enhanced oil recovery (EOR) the missing link in the United States' energy policy? During today's OnPoint, Judi Greenwald, vice president for technology and innovation at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and Robert Baugh, executive director of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council, outline the recommendations of the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, a coalition of business and environmental groups. Greenwald and Baugh call on Congress to pass an enhanced oil recovery tax credit to spur innovation and growth in carbon capture and storage. They also address the environmental concerns associated with EOR. Click here to watch the interview.

 
Click here for additional information about the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute.

PEV Dialogue Group

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions convened the PEV Dialogue Group. The original group assembled the Action Plan collaboratively. Each group member participated by providing valuable input that was instrumental in shaping the Action Plan. The Plan’s recommendations reflect the input from the group as a whole, not necessarily those of individual organizations.

Since publishing the Action Plan, the group has expanded to include other partners that are active in the PEV market. The group continues their collaboration in Phase II of the PEV Deployment Initiative, focusing on Action Plan implementation. 

  • A123 Systems
  • AASHTO
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
  • Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
  • ChargePoint
  • City of Raleigh
  • Daimler
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • Edison Electric Institute (EEI)
  • Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA)
  • Electrification Coalition
  • Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
  • General Electric
  • General Motors
  • Georgetown Climate Center
  • Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission*
  • Johnson Controls Inc.
  • Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
  • Michigan Public Service Commission*
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Northeast Utilities System
  • Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
  • NRG Energy
  • PJM Interconnection
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Southern California Edison
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
  • University of Delaware
  • Washington State Department of Transportation
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

  *The role of these group members must be limited to technical contribution because of their organizational function.

Press Release: Enhanced Oil Recovery Plan Draws Bipartisan Welcome in Congress

Press Release

February 28, 2012


Contact:Tom Steinfeldt, steinfeldtt@c2es.org, 703-516-0638
 Patrice Lahlum, plahlum@gpisd.net, 701-281-5007  

 

Enhanced Oil Recovery Plan Draws Bipartisan Welcome in Congress 

Consensus Recommendations from Industry, State and Nonprofit Leaders Benefit Economy, Energy Security, and Environment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A coalition of industry, state, environmental and labor leaders called today for federal and state incentives to stimulate the expansion of enhanced oil recovery using carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants and industrial facilities. The proposed measures would boost domestic U.S. oil production while reducing the nation’s CO2 emissions. 

The recommendations by the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI), convened by the Great Plains Institute (GPI) and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), were released at an event on Capitol Hill.  

Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX) were on hand to welcome the recommendations, and Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), and Congressman Rick Berg (R-ND) offered written statements in support of the initiative.

In CO2-enhanced oil recovery (EOR), oil producers inject CO2 into wells to draw more oil to the surface. The practice, 6 percent of current U.S. domestic oil production, helps sustain production in otherwise declining oil fields, but limited supplies of CO2 constrain the expansion of EOR. NEORI’s recommendations would encourage the capture of CO2 from industrial and power facilities for use in EOR.

The centerpiece of the group’s recommendations is a proposed federal tax incentive focused on companies that capture and transport CO2, not oil companies. NEORI estimates that the tax credit would quadruple U.S. oil production from EOR, to 400 million barrels a year, while reducing CO2 emissions by 4 billion tons over the next 40 years. The U.S. Treasury Department would administer the competitively awarded tax credit. 

NEORI calculates that the program would pay for itself within 10 years through increased federal revenues generated by boosting domestic oil production, with an estimated net return of $100 billion over 40 years. The incentive would reduce the trade deficit by saving the United States about $610 billion in expenditures on imported oil over the same period. 

As an immediate measure, NEORI recommends that Congress or the Treasury Department modify the existing Section 45Q Tax Credit for Carbon Dioxide Sequestration to provide a more workable incentive to firms to capture and transport CO2.

At the state level, NEORI identified a range of existing state policies encouraging commercial deployment of CO2 capture technologies and projects and recommends that other states tailor and adopt them. The model state policies include tax credits, exemptions or abatements, and the inclusion of carbon capture-and-storage in electricity portfolio standards, among others.

“The EOR Initiative’s recommendations strike common ground among a diverse collection of interests and offer a realistic opportunity to increase U.S. oil supplies while reducing carbon emissions,” said C2ES President Eileen Claussen. “The proposal reflects practical solutions that deliver a win for our nation’s economic growth, energy security, and the climate.” 

“Implementing these recommendations for EOR can create a virtuous circle of increasing benefits to our nation over time,” said Brad Crabtree, policy director for GPI.  “Congress and state policymakers can expand American oil production, spur jobs, increase revenues, reduce the trade deficit and store significant CO2, all with incentives that pay for themselves.”

In total, an estimated 26 billion to 61 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil could be produced in the United States using currently available CO2-EOR technologies and practices, or potentially more than twice the country’s proved reserves.  Expanded use of CO2-EOR also can advance the development of infrastructure needed for long-term capture, transportation and storage of carbon emissions.

NEORI participants include state officials from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, West Virginia and representatives of:

Air Products, Inc.Natural Resources Defense Council
AFL-CIOOhio Environmental Council
Arch Coal, Inc.Southern Company
Archer Daniels Midland Co.Summit Power 
Basin Electric Power CooperativeTenaska Energy
Clean Air Task ForceUnited Transportation Union 
Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, University of Wyoming Wyoming Outdoor Council
GE Energy 

 

NEORI observers:

Chaparral Energy LLCNorth American Carbon Capture and Storage Association
Core Energy, LLCSouthern States Energy Board
Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission 

 

 

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About C2ES
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, long recognized in the United States and abroad as an influential and pragmatic voice on climate issues. C2ES is led by Eileen Claussen, who previously led the Pew Center and is the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

About the Great Plains Institute
The Great Plains Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to transforming how we produce, distribute, and consume energy to be both environmentally and economically sustainable. Through research and analysis, consensus policy development, and technology acceleration, we are helping to advance clean, efficient and secure energy. Our collaborative efforts with public and private leaders focus on energy efficiency, renewable and low-carbon electricity and fuels, enhanced oil recovery, energy storage, smart grid and transmission.

 

Statements from Members of Congress in support of the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative

 

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) 

“I applaud the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative for bringing together such a diverse group of stakeholders and presenting this set of policy recommendations. Enhanced oil recovery is a critical element of our broad, all-of-the-above approach to pursuing energy independence for America. It is also a clear example of American ingenuity that is re-invigorating oil fields. Along with bringing on more domestic oil and reducing carbon emissions, it brings more jobs and economic development to rural areas of our country. From a CO2 pipeline and injection project under development in the Bell Creek oil field in southeastern Montana to an innovative public-private carbon sequestration project in the Kevin Dome in Toole County, Montana is helping to lead the way. I look forward to working with members of the Initiative to make the existing federal incentives work better to promote a safer, cleaner and more prosperous American economy.”

Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)

“The Department of Energy has estimated that standard oil recovery techniques leave as much as 80 percent of the original oil in place. As a result, our country has tens of billions of barrels of oil in existing oil fields that, until now, has been out of reach. ” Senator Conrad said. “Using CO2 enhanced oil recovery significantly increases the efficiency of oil recovery, resulting in a win-win situation that would increase domestic oil production while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Senator John Hoeven (R-ND)

"Enhanced oil recovery is an important resource to get us to North American energy independence.  As home to one of the world's only commercial scale carbon sequestration operation, North Dakota is uniquely poised as a leader in energy production.  Expanding all areas of domestic energy production will help lower gas prices and make our country more secure."    

Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) 

“Americans today struggle with high oil prices, and our economy is vulnerable to massive price spikes. Producing more domestic oil through enhanced oil recovery is a win for fiscal responsibility, a win for energy security, and a win for environmental stewardship. Addiction to foreign oil from unfriendly nations imperils United States’ national security and makes our economy more vulnerable to conflict, terrorist activity, and natural disasters far outside the United States. My Practical Energy Plan would enable 1.8 million barrels of new domestic oil production each day through enhanced oil recovery and earn an estimated $170 billion in federal revenue. Industries and utilities using Indiana’s coal would be able to sell their emissions, enabling a valuable economic boost in Indiana. I commend members of the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative for taking up this opportunity and thank them for their recommendations.” 

Congressman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) 

“I want to thank all the participants in the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative for their hard work over the past eight months. This project has yielded many new relationships, some surprising common ground, and a couple of good recommendations for Members of Congress to consider. I have no doubt that the groundwork NEORI has laid will pay dividends long into the future.

“Finding new ways to access the resources we have already found will continue to be an important piece of our domestic energy strategy for years to come. EOR is a critical tool that allows us to do just that - it breathes new life into old fields. Expanding our domestic energy production remains a top priority for me and many of my colleagues.  We all look to a time when our nation will import less oil, create more jobs, and has a growing economy, thanks in part to EOR and increased production of domestic energy.”

Congressman Rick Berg (R-ND)

“As the need for our nation’s energy independence increases, it’s important that we continue working to find ways to increase domestic oil production. In North Dakota alone, more than 250 million incremental barrels of oil could be produced from already discovered, currently producing conventional oil fields through carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery. Using technology like this to expand our domestic energy production holds great potential to help lower energy costs for consumers as well as breaking our dependence on foreign oil.”

 

State officials welcome the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative’s recommendations

Texas State Representative Myra Crownover, Vice-Chair, Energy Resources Committee (R)

"Increasing domestic energy production is essential to our national interest. Enhanced oil recovery combined with carbon capture and storage technology is one of the most promising developments for increasing the energy security of the United States. The work of the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative has been a valuable first step in the conversation regarding this important policy area, and I want to commend all of the members of the Initiative for their hard work."

Doug Scott, Chairman, Illinois Commerce Commission

"The National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) addresses a number of concerns about energy policy, the economy and the environment. In Illinois, we have been exploring a number of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects, such as Future Gen, a CCS demonstration by a major manufacturer, and several power generating facilities with CCS as part of their plans. These kinds of projects are all very expensive, and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) could provide economic incentives that would benefit them. Illinois is a major coal producer and coal user. Understanding how EOR works can help us to understand what role coal-fired generation can have in our state going forward.

"If successfully implemented on a larger scale, EOR would help reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil, thereby strengthening our opportunity for energy independence. EOR can provide good-paying power- and manufacturing-sector jobs in this country and more tax revenue to governments. From an environmental perspective, EOR not only captures and reduces CO2 emissions, but it also more fully utilizes already-developed oil and gas fields.

"I have found that collaborative policy initiatives, involving many states, the federal government, the private sector and the non-governmental organizations can help to provide solutions to complex issues. The NEORI is just such a collaborative. I look forward to working with other states, to share best practices, and to work with NEORI and federal policy makers to insure that EOR policies make sense for the private sector, the states and the federal government. Having a federal policy will help to advance EOR technology to provide benefits in many areas."

Recommended Modifications to the 45Q Tax Credit for Carbon Dioxide Sequestration

Recommended Modifications to the 45Q Tax Credit for Carbon Dioxide Sequestration

February 2012

Download the full report (PDF)

Press Release

Other resources:

Introduction:

The National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) recommends that Congress consider implementing a revenue-positive federal production tax credit to support deployment of commercial carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and pipeline projects. A new, more robust federal incentive is needed to increase the supply of man-made or anthropogenic CO2 that the oil industry can purchase for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to increase domestic production from existing oil fields. 

NEORI also recommends that Congress undertake immediate modification of the existing Section 45Q Tax Credit for Carbon Dioxide Sequestration,[1] through legislative action and/or working with the Department of the Treasury to revise Internal Revenue Service program guidance. 

To avoid stalling important commercial CO2 capture projects under development, there is an urgent need to improve the functionality and financial certainty of this federal incentive to enable its effective commercial use. To make 45Q immediately accessible to US companies, Congress should pursue the following changes to the program: 

  • Designate the owner of the CO2 capture facility as the primary taxpayer; 
  • Establish a registration, credit allocation, and certification process; 
  • Change the recapture provision to ensure that any regulations issued after the disposal or use of CO2 shall not enable the federal government to recapture credits that were awarded according to regulations that existed at that time; and 
  • Authorize limited transferability of the credit within the CO2 chain of custody, from the primary taxpayer to the entity responsible for disposing of the CO2

The consensus recommendations below detail the specific 45Q program modifications requested, and the section-by-section summary provides further explanation and context. 

Background and Rationale 

Section 45Q makes available a per-ton credit for CO2 disposed of in secure geologic storage. The program provides $10 per metric ton for CO2 stored through EOR operations and $20 per metric ton for CO2 stored in deep saline formations. However, due to unforeseen issues in the original statute (§ 115 of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008), the 45Q program lacks sufficient transparency and certainty for companies to be able to use the credit to secure private financing for projects. 

Large-scale expansion of commercial EOR using industrially-sourced CO2 later in this decade requires that critical industrial capture projects begin construction now and enter commercial operation within the next few years. If Congress makes modest, functional improvements this year to 45Q that result in little or no additional fiscal cost, the program currently authorized at 75 million metric tons of CO2 stored can help several significant EOR projects nationwide secure private sector financing and move forward to commercial operation. 

Reference:

1. 26 USC §45Q provides a tax credit for carbon dioxide sequestration. Section 45Q was enacted by § 115 of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008.  

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Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery: A Critical Domestic Energy, Economic, and Environmental Opportunity

Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery: A Critical Domestic Energy, Economic, and Environmental Opportunity

February 2012

Download the full report (PDF)

Press Release

Other resources:

Introduction:

Amidst economic uncertainty, fiscal crisis and political division over energy policy, carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) offers a safe and commercially proven method of domestic oil production that can help the United States simultaneously address three urgent national priorities: 

  • Increasing our nation’s energy security by reducing dependence on foreign oil, often imported from unstable and hostile regimes; 
  • Supporting job creation, increasing tax revenue, and reducing our trade deficit by keeping dollars now spent on oil imports here at home and at work in the U.S. economy; and 
  • Protecting the environment by capturing and storing CO2 from industrial facilities and power plants, while getting more American crude from areas already developed for oil and gas production. 

A largely unheralded example of American ingenuity, CO2-EOR was pioneered in West Texas in 1972 as a way to sustain oil production in otherwise declining oil fields. It works by injecting CO2 obtained from natural or man-made sources into existing oil fields to free up additional crude oil trapped in rock formations. In this way, CO2- EOR can significantly extend the lifespan and revitalize production of mature oil fields in the United States. 

Today, over 3,900 miles (Dooley, et al., 2009) of pipelines in the United States annually transport approximately 65 million tons of CO2 (Melzer, 2012) that the oil industry purchases for use in EOR, producing 281,000 barrels of domestic oil per day, or six percent of U.S. crude oil production (ARI, 2011). The EOR industry has captured, transported, and injected large volumes of CO2 for oil recovery over four decades with no major accidents, serious injuries or fatalities reported. 

America has the potential to expand CO2-EOR significantly. Advanced Resources International (ARI) estimates that an additional 26-61 billion barrels of oil could economically be recovered with today’s EOR technologies, potentially more than doubling current U.S. proven reserves. Moreover, “next generation” EOR technology could yield substantially greater gains, potentially increasing recoverable domestic oil from EOR to 67-137 billion barrels, and storing 20-45 billion metric tons of CO2 that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere (ARI, 2011). 

The National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) was formed to help realize CO2-EOR’s full potential as a national energy security, economic and environmental strategy. Organized and staffed by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and the Great Plains Institute (GPI), the Initiative brought together a broad and unusual coalition of executives from the electric power, coal, ethanol, chemical, and oil and gas industries; state officials, legislators and regulators; and environmental and labor representatives.

NEORI was launched on July 17, 2011, in Washington, D.C., with bipartisan support from four U.S. Senators and a member of Congress. Project participants met on three occasions to define the scope and expectations of the project, provide feedback on technical matters, and offer policy guidance. They gathered in Washington, D.C., with the launch of the project on July 17, 2011; in Traverse City, MI, on September 21-22; and in Houston, TX, on November 1-2. The latter two meetings included field visits to commercial EOR operations and to a CO2 capture facility. 

NEORI participants also formed subgroups focused on developing policy recommendations, analysis and modeling, and communications and outreach materials. The subgroups held conference calls over several months, often on a weekly basis, to develop, refine, and reach consensus on recommendations and work products. 

This report presents NEORI participants’ consensus recommendations for targeted federal and state incentives to expand CO2-EOR. If implemented, these recommendations would significantly increase U.S. domestic oil production while generating net new tax revenues for the federal government and states struggling to fill budget gaps and jumpstart our nation’s economy. 

Rationale for Incentives to Support CO2-EOR

The Challenge: Limited Supply of Man-Made CO2 for Use in EOR

Today’s supply of CO2 available for purchase by the oil industry is simply inadequate to achieve the tens of billions of barrels of additional domestic oil production possible through EOR. In a fortunate, if ironic, twist of fate, a key to increasing America’s domestic energy security lies in capturing and productively utilizing a portion of our nation’s industrial CO2 emissions, thereby meeting a critical domestic energy challenge, while also helping to solve a global environmental problem.

Expanding the supply of CO2 available for EOR depends upon wide-scale deployment of carbon capture and compression equipment at a broad range of industrial sources, including natural gas processing; ethanol fermentation; fertilizer, industrial gas and chemicals production; gasification of various feedstocks; coal, natural gas and biomass-fueled power generation; and the manufacture of cement and steel. In addition, a substantial build-out of the existing CO2 pipeline network will be required to deliver CO2 from industrial facilities where it is produced to existing oil fields where it is needed.

The Solution: Reducing the Cost of Capturing and Transporting Man-Made CO2

NEORI’s federal and state incentive recommendations aim to bring down the cost of man-made, or anthropogenic, COcapture and transport over time to a level that private capital can finance without additional government support and based solely on crude oil prices and the economics of commercial EOR operations.

The EOR industry currently purchases CO2 on the open market. Market prices support using anthropogenic CO2 only in those cases where the costs of capture from a particular industrial source are low, and the amount of CO2 produced justifies private financing of pipeline infrastructure. 

However, CO2 capture technologies for some applications, notably electric power generation and some other industrial processes, are not yet fully commercialized and remain expensive to deploy, even at today’s oil prices. Also, the costs of building trunk pipelines to deliver CO2, especially from smaller industrial sources, often exceed the scope of what individual EOR projects can privately finance without the addition of incremental incentives recommended in this report.

Overview of Recommendations:

Federal Production Tax Credit for CO2-EOR: A Revenue-Positive Policy for Domestic Energy Security 

NEORI’s centerpiece recommendation is a competitively awarded, revenue-positive federal production tax credit for capturing and transporting CO2 to stimulate CO2- EOR expansion. Crucially, this federal tax credit would more than pay for itself. Indeed, analysis of the incentive outlined below indicates that federal revenues from existing tax treatment of additional incremental oil production would exceed the fiscal cost of the incentive itself by $100 billion over 40 years. Further, modeling shows that this incentive program, properly designed, would become revenue-positive within the ten-year timeframe typically used by Congressional budget score-keepers. 

Analysis undertaken by NEORI suggests that this tax credit would result in the production of an additional 9 billion barrels of American oil over 40 years, quadrupling CO2-EOR production and displacing U.S. oil imports. At the same time, the proposed incentive would save the United States roughly $610 billion in expenditures on imported oil, while storing approximately 4 billion tons of CO2 captured from industrial and power plant sources, thereby reducing total U.S. CO2 emissions in the process. 

Focusing Incentives on Industrial Suppliers of CO2, not the Oil Industry 

With oil at around $100 per barrel, world-class experience and expertise in the U.S. oil industry, and private capital available to invest, why are new financial incentives needed to expand CO2-EOR? To be sure, EOR represents an American can-do commercial success story, and the U.S. oil industry does not need or seek additional financial incentives to sustain EOR production at present levels. 

While the business model of the U.S. EOR industry has worked profitably for decades utilizing existing sources of natural and man-made CO2, the principal constraint on the EOR industry’s ability to expand domestic oil production is the lack of sufficient additional CO2 at current market prices. Therefore, NEORI recommends that incentives be primarily directed to capture and pipeline projects serving industrial facilities and power plants, rather than to EOR operators. 

This approach will enable a variety of industry sectors to market new sources of CO2 to the oil industry and develop the technological and operational experience that will drive innovation and cost reduction in CO2 capture, compression, and transport over time. In addition to increasing CO2 supply for the oil industry, these projects will benefit participating industries by helping them to reduce their carbon footprint in response to emerging and expected state and federal regulatory requirements and by making them more competitive in a global marketplace that increasingly values lower-carbon products and services. Finally, the deployment of CO2 capture and pipelines for use in EOR will establish a national infrastructure that can eventually be utilized by many industries for long-term carbon capture and storage (CCS) in geologic formations beyond oil and gas fields. 

Complement Federal Policies with State Incentives 

States also have an important role to play in fostering CO2-EOR deployment by implementing incentive policies that can complement the federal production tax credit recommended in this report. A number of states have already taken the lead, filling the current vacuum left by the absence of adequate federal policy. Therefore, this report identifies existing state policies that NEORI members believe should serve as models for policy-makers in other states to adopt and tailor to their particular needs. 

Multiple Benefits of CO2-EOR Can Marshall Broad Support for Policy Change 

The federal and state policy recommendations in this report will, if implemented, create a virtuous circle of linked and growing benefits to the American people: expanding CO2 supply, increasing domestic oil production and associated job creation, expanding federal and state  revenues, and declining CO2 emissions. Thus, at a time when our nation’s energy policy is mired in regional, partisan and ideological debate, CO2-EOR can help lay the groundwork for a different policy path forward, one that weaves together a broad coalition of Americans united by common interests. 

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February 2012 Newsletter

Click here to view our February 2012 newsletter.

Learn about the new international coalition aimed reducing short-lived climate pollutants, a framework for carbon capture and storage, and how federal agencies are incorporating climate adaptation into their decision making, the start of a clean energy standard conversation, and more in C2ES's February 2012 newsletter.

Enhanced Oil Recovery & Agriculture

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Agricultural industries and communities can benefit from selling CO2 to meet the growing demand for CO2 to boost domestic oil production.

The agriculture sector can supply high purity, manmade COto access domestic oil resources in existing oil fields.

Agriculture industry opportunities for capturing COto spur EOR expansion include:

  • Ethanol production: The capture of biogenic emissions from ethanol production is technologically straightforward given the  pure stream of CO2 produced in the fermentation process. Many ethanol plants sell CO2 to the food and beverage industry, but CO2-EOR represents a much larger market.
  • Domestic fertilizer production: CO2 capture from fertilizer production is fully commercial and relies on the same proven technology platform used in compressing and dehydrating natural gas.
  • Gasification of biomass with fossil fuels: CO2 capture from gasification of biomass, by itself or with fossil feedstocks for production of electricity and liquid fuels, holds promise for increasing both domestic energy production and reducing carbon emissions.

Agricultural industries present an important, early opportunity to provide CO2 for EOR because of the relatively low cost of capturing CO2 from these types of facilities

Build-out of pipeline infrastructure is required to support expansion of CO2-EOR.
CO2 pipelines have operated in the US for decades and there are currently over 3,900 miles of CO2 pipelines. Additional infrastructure is required to expand domestic oil production by gathering CO2 from sources such as ethanol and fertilizer facilities and transporting the CO2 to EOR operations by pipeline.

Integrating CO2-EOR with agricultural industries provides an opportunity for lowering the carbon intensity of agricultural products.
The environmental benefits of CO2-EOR provides agricultural industries a commercially proven option for complying with emerging and expected state, regional and international lowcarbon fuels policies. For example, capturing CO2 from ethanol plants and permanently storing it in EOR formations significantly lowers the carbon intensity of the ethanol plant operation, and potentially commands higher prices in states with Low Carbon Fuel Standards and other policies that create incentives for lower carbon intensity fuels.

Agricultural industries are working to advance and integrate technologies that can contribute to expanding CO2-EOR.
For example, ADM’s Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture and Sequestration (ICCS) Project will be a commercial-scale example of a CO2 capture and storage project at an ethanol facility and builds on ADM’s experience with a smaller-scale project. ADM will capture one million tons of CO2 per year at their ethanol production plant using dehydration and compression for transport, injection and geologic storage in the Mt. Simon Sandstone Formation. The ICCS project is carried out in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Another example is Chaparral Energy, which has CO2-EOR projects in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Since 1982, the Chaparral and Merit Enid Fertilizer Project has captured and transported CO2 from an ammonia nitrogen fertilizer plant in Enid, Oklahoma to EOR fields in southern Oklahoma. Every year, about 600,000 tons of CO2are captured and injected, demonstrating the longevity of manmade CO2-EOR projects. Looking ahead to 2013, Chaparral will begin capturing about 850,000 tons of CO2 per year from an ammonia nitrogen fertilizer plant in Coffeyville, Kansas, and will transport the CO2 via pipeline approximately 70 miles to an EOR field for CO2-EOR recovery and simultaneous carbon storage. This project will be the largest CO2 capture and injection operation in N. America involving CO2 emissions from a fertilizer facility.

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