Recoverable Oil May Add 43 Billion Barrels to US Supply

A series of reports released today indicate there is a potential to meet the demand for an energy thirsty nation by recovering over 43 billion barrels of additional oil from currently "stranded" oil resources in six regions of the United States, according an announcement by the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy. Developing these resources would provide significant revenues to state treasuries, provide thousands of additional domestic jobs, and improve the U.S. trade balance by reducing imports.

The studies address a series of basin-oriented, carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery assessments prepared by Advanced Resources International for the Office of Fossil Energy's Office of Oil and Natural Gas. "State-of-the-art" practices successfully applied today in a few U.S. basins were defined and their feasibility was assessed in the basins studied. These assessments were performed in response to Congressional budget language for DOE/FE directing basin-wide strategies be examined that identify ways to lower costs and accelerate commercial adoption of carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery.

"These findings are indicative of the progress being made to preserve our nation's energy future," said Mark Maddox, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy. "This is just another example of how advanced technology is helping to meet the goals of the President's National Energy Policy."

The reports reveal the potential for technically and economically recovering crude oil from mature domestic oil fields using available CO2-EOR technology. In addition, the reports address the performance of CO2-EOR projects conducted in these regions during the past 30 years and include both successful and unsuccessful efforts. The six regions have a technically recoverable potential of 43 billion barrels using the latest CO2-EOR technologies.

Using CO2-EOR techniques to deplete oil reservoirs is steadily becoming one of the most efficient methods for additional domestic crude oil production. The process was first attempted in 1972 in large scale at the SACROC unit of the Kelly-Snyder field located in Scurry County, Texas. Today, CO2-EOR is only used in a few regions of the United States & primarily in west Texas and southern Wyoming.

A summary of the resource potential associated with the application of state-of-the-art CO2-EOR practices in the six regions follows:

Onshore California: contains 22 billion barrels of stranded oil (oil left in the ground following the use of traditional oil recovery practices) in 88 large oil reservoirs amenable to CO2-EOR. State-of-the-art technology may lead to recovery of an additional five billion barrels.

Onshore Gulf Coast: contains 18 billion barrels of stranded oil in portions of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast basins and the Mississippi Salt basin. There is an opportunity to recover an additional 6 billion barrels in the reservoirs assessed, and potentially up to 10 billion additional barrels when the results are extrapolated to all oil reservoirs in the Gulf Coast area.

Offshore Louisiana: The use of CO2-EOR in offshore state and federal waters could extend the productive use of existing offshore oil platforms that might otherwise be prematurely abandoned. An additional six billion barrels may be recovered from 99 large offshore (shallow water) reservoirs using state-of-the-art technology.

Oklahoma: contains 63 large oil reservoirs favorably-screened for CO2-EOR with the potential to provide five billion additional barrels of oil in the reservoirs assessed, with growth to nine billion recoverable barrels when extrapolated to all reservoirs throughout the state.

Alaska: contains 43 billion barrels of stranded oil resource with an additional 12 billion being recoverable through carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery.

Illinois: contains nearly two billion barrels of stranded oil in 46 reservoirs with nearly one billion additional barrels recoverable.

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