The captured CO2 is expected to have the added benefit of enhancing oil recovery from California's mature oil fields. Occidental, the world's largest CO2 operator, is successfully injecting more than one billion cubic feet of CO2 per day in its Permian Basin oil production operations in West Texas and New Mexico. The application of this technology is responsible for approximately 85,000 barrels per day of Occidental's current oil production in the Permian Basin from previously unrecoverable reserves. Technical studies are underway to determine which of Occidental's California oil fields would most benefit from CO2 flooding technology.
Occidental currently operates the giant Elk Hills field in California's southern San Joaquin Valley, the THUMS operation in Long Beach and other properties in the Sacramento Valley in northern California. These properties accounted for total production, net to Occidental, of approximately 120,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the fourth quarter 2005.
CO2 flooding is a proven enhanced oil recovery technique in which the CO2 is injected deep into oil reservoirs with minimal environmental impact to reduce the viscosity of the trapped oil so it flows more easily to the well bores, increasing production and extending the economic life of mature oil fields. The CO2 is produced along with the recovered oil, then recycled and reinjected. Upon completion of the project, the CO2 would be permanently stored, or geologically sequestered, in the reservoir. CO2 injection is a tertiary (third) recovery method applied in mature oil fields after primary methods have run their course.
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