Norway sees injecting CO2 into oil fields as too pricey
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.
The procedure of injecting CO2 into submarine oil fields, which has been tested on the offshore Sleipner platform in
the North Sea, has proven to help push out more oil and at the same time limit emissions of the gas that causes
The solution has been regarded as attractive in Norway, which is the world's third largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and Russia, and which has signed the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
"CO2 injection is technically feasible, and the potential for increased recovery is substantial," said the authors of
the report, who have studied 20 Norwegian oil platforms where the method could help extract an additional 150 to 300
mm cm of oil in total.
"However, the threshold costs for establishing a delivery chain for injection of CO2 are so high that other methods of improving recovery emerge as being more attractive for the licensees at this time," the authors said.
With CO2 injection production costs jump to between $ 30 and 33 (EUR 23 and 25) a barrel, a level considered too high
for oil companies to profitably exploit their fields. The method calls for large volumes of CO2 "at the right place
and at the right time", large transportation costs as well as a long line of expensive changes made to the platforms
themselves, according to experts.
"Only a few sources in Norway are large enough to supply fields on the Norwegian shelf with CO2," the report stated.
Faced with dwindling oil reserves in the North Sea the Norwegian government has said it aims to increase the recovery
rate in the country's oil fields from 46 to 50 %.
"Increased recovery rate is high on my agenda, and I look positively on profitable projects contributing to better utilization of the petroleum resources on the shelf," Oil and Energy Minister Thorhild Widvey said, adding that measures to this end would appear in the country's 2006 budget.