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."