There is some good news

Because Peak Oil is rapidly getting to the point where its presence will hit us hard in the pocket, one of the more important things that we are trying to do is to spread the word about what the true situation is. Often, as a result, the picture we paint can appear increasingly bleak as we try and point out some of the errors in the arguments being made which say that we have nothing to worry about.. And this site can appear quite depressing.

So, as a partial response to Jimbo who commented on that, let us paint a little good news into the picture. The Toronto Globe and Mail is currently carrying a series of articles on Peak Oil, primarily as it relates to Canada, and today they commented on the use of carbon dioxide as a means of enhanced recovery.

This is an area that is not often talked about, but in many of the plots of peak oil, there is the curve that goes up and then switchbacks down which is main crude oil production. Sitting like a rather large boil on the shoulder of the downside of that fold is an uptick that is called enhanced oil recovery (EOR) or tertiary recovery.

One of the more promising techniques for EOR is injecting carbon dioxide into a layer of rock that still has oil, but where it cannot easily be obtained normally. There are two benefits to using CO2. One of these is to strip some of the gas out of the atmosphere. The University of Texas recently showed that they could inject liquid CO2 into a depleted oil reservoir, and because the reservoir was a fluid trap, it would hold the gas and keep it from getting back into the atmosphere.

But the benefits extend beyond that. An experiment that the Globe and Mail referred to has been going on in the Weyburn oil field in Saskatchewan for the last five years. CO2 from a synthetic fuel plant in North Dakota is piped to the oilfield and injected. While the reservoir holds the gas, the mix with the oil, means that the oil flows out of the well more easily.
Carbon-dioxide injection will allow EnCana to extract another 140 million barrels of oil from its 51-year-old Weyburn field, an enormous volume at a time when the average new well drilled in Western Canada yields a mere 50,000 barrels.
The technique has promise in a number of sites where the rock layer does not otherwise allow much oil to be recovered. The potential gain for Canada can be quite large.
Now, better technology and high crude prices are about to shift an enormous amount of oil into the grasp of the industry. As many as five billion barrels could be added, according to Mr. Issacs. That would more than double Canada's conventional oil reserves.
A significant gain can also be achieved in the United States where the process has seen some limited use since it was first tried in Scurry County Texas in 1972. It is being used particularly in the Rockies and West Texas where it is currently producing over 190,000 bd of oil .

It is also being used in Liaohe, the third largest oilfield, in China, which is now declining in production. By pumping in flue gas from a nearby power plant and combining it with steam the recovery of oil from the reservoir was increased from the 20 -30% achieved with steam, to around 50 – 60%. Since the gas was not otherwise treated it only contained about 10 – 14% CO2, the rest of the gas being largely nitrogen.

The benefits from this are two-fold, since the gas can be stripped from the oil and reinjected, thereby trapping it back underground rather than releasing it to the air. The only downside to that is that, to be economic and useful, a power plant already in existence should really be used for the gas, and it needs to be relatively near the oil to be economic.

Here is an ADDENDUM from the OGJ from back in April. The article is now archived, and thus requires a password to access, but begins:
The latest technology for enhanced oil recovery by injection of carbon dioxide holds the potential to recover 43 billion bbl of oil "stranded" in six mature US producing regions, says a study conducted for the Department of Energy.

DOE's Office of Fossil Energy calls the volume, estimated in the study by Advanced Resources International, "technically recoverable potential."

It identifies as "state-of-the-art CO2 EOR technologies" horizontal wells, 4D seismic to track injectant flow, automated field monitoring systems, and injecting larger volumes of CO2 than were used in earlier EOR projects.he study says state-of-the-art CO2 injection might recover 5.2 billion bbl of 22 billion bbl of oil unrecoverable by conventional production methods in California. The stranded oil is in 88 large reservoirs amenable to CO2 injection.
The technology does require that the gas be liquified (which requires a pressure of about 1,000 psi) so that it can better mix with the oil, and make it easier to extract.
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HO -

You might also reference the high number of "stripper wells" currently producing here in the US. There is some thinking that "stripper rates" may be sustainable, allowing the reservoir to recharge from the source rock.

It is evident to most anyone who cares to think about it that petroleum is being produced from source rocks right now, in real time. Oil is seeping offshore from the sands in Santa Barbara while I type. But the obscene rate at which we extract and use it is not sustainable. I doubt many have ever thought along those lines, as it is a sustainable way of thinking rather than a mining, profiteering way of thinking.

Several geologists have suggested placing drain holes within source rocks, but the rates at which the oil collects are what is considered "non-commercial". It may just be that by reducing the demand we can foster the supply.

But in the end, all methods coupled with traditional consumption only move the curve - they do not change it. I am hoping that by moving the curve, we can attain enough time to adjust our consumptive (both meanings intended) society to fit the resource picture.

Right now, we have very few politicians willing to even admit the issue, much less address it. Our Emperor has opted for the most destructive course possible.

This is the short circuit we need to repair - your China posting yesterday simply amplifies this. It is not about production increases - they are only band-aids. We have to reduce the demand and offset it with other sources. There is just no way to candy-coat this issue and make it taste good.

There is no way for this to be painless - Jimbo is right in that. But it also doesn't have to be the end of civilization. We can move forward into a slower paced, smaller footprint, more polite society. But to do so, it appears to me that we will be required to force governments to do the right thing, for our children and grandchildren. They do not appear to be willing to do so at this time.

My gut feeling tells me that it will take $6-$10 gasoline before they will truly perceive a problem. I base that on my "gas pain threshold", based on their income. Gas has been much higher in the UK for years, and yet their driving is not much reduced. Rich Americans can absorb more financial pain than poor Americans, and the rich are running the country. It has to get personal to politicians, somehow, for it to take precedence. IMHO...

I would think this should be taken very seriously:

Sorry Jimbo...

OT: A new map of wind energy centers shows that a mere 2.5 million turbines could generate enough electricity to satisfy world demand:

I know, 2.5 million? Hey, that's a lot, isn't it? But if Bush had spent 300 billion on subsidies for renewables like wind instead of a resource war in the Middle East, we'd be a lot further toward being fossil fuel independent right now. I wonder how many wind turbines 300 billion would have built?

Well, it's a tiny bit of good news, but it's not really that encouraging. Five billion barels for example is less than a year's worth of consumption by America alone. Every little bit helps, I suppose, but in the face of exponential growth in demand, this is delaying the inevitable. And of course pumping more oil means more global warming. If we use the extra oil we get to delay facing our addiction, it makes things worse in the long run, not better.

What would really be encouraging? It would be encouraging if the President made a speech in which he laid out what we face, and called for shared conservation and sacrifice. It would be encouraging if it became common knowledge in the U.S. that a culture based on the private car has no future, and we need to switch from it as quickly as we can. It would be encouraging if investment in alternative energy started to exceed what we currently spend on the military. It would be encouraging if we embarked on a crash course to find out how we can restructure our society to not be dependent on private transportation.

Frankly, discovering we can squeeze out a few more billion barrels of oil and avoid the day of reckoning for a few months or even years while pouring yet more carbon into the atmosphere isn't encouraging at all.

--Rick Taylor

IN the end the result is less oil.

We best plan now for this instead of wasting time and energy trying to suck our planet dry. God only knows the long term effects of these CO2 injections on the earth and removing most of the oil from the earth.

Its time to look else where and develop other energy sources.

there was this recent news:

"Injecting CO2 into oil fields to boost production is too pricey: report"

(AFP) - Injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) into oil fields boosts production and even helps reduce emissions of the gas, but is for now too costly and too risky, according to a new study published in Oslo.

"At the present time, CO2 injection does not appear to be a commercial alternative for improved oil recovery for the licensees on the Norwegian shelf," said the report, which was commissioned by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.