Taking CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery to the Offshore Gulf of Mexico

Dipietro, Phil (U.S.Department of Energy/NETL) | Kuuskraa, Vello (Advanced Resources International) | Malone, Taylor (Advanced Resources International)


1. Description of the Material. While the CO2-enhanced oil recovery process has been successfully applied in onshore oil reservoirs, no commercial CO2-EOR is yet underway in the offshore of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). However, several offshore CO2-EOR projects are being implemented overseas, including an early application of CO2-enhanced oil recovery in the giant Lula oil field offshore Brazil. These experiences provide confidence that, where the reservoir conditions for EOR implementation are favorable, the CO2-EOR process can be extended to the offshore Gulf of Mexico, providing increased domestic oil production and secure settings for storing CO2.
2. Application/Development. The paper examines a large set of over 500 shallow and deep water offshore fields to identify 140 oil fields (containing 696 oil reservoirs) screened as prospective for CO2-EOR. It then uses “streamline” reservoir simulation and an offshore CO2-EOR cost model to: (1) assess the economic feasibility of applying CO2-EOR in these oil fields/reservoirs; (2) project the volumes of additional oil recovery that would result from application of current as well as advanced offshore CO2-EOR technologies; and (3) estimate the volume of CO2 that could be stored with CO2-EOR in GOM’s oil fields.
3. Results, Observations, and Conclusions. The paper identifies the urgent need to initiate CO2-EOR in maturing shallow water oil fields of the GOM, before the platforms are removed and these oil fields are abandoned. The paper also identifies opportunities for undertaking early application of CO2-EOR in newly discovered deep water oil fields, helping improve overall economic viability. Finally, the paper examines the potential of applying CO2-EOR to the large undiscovered oil resource potential remaining in the deep waters of the GOM OCS. The paper examines the potential sources of CO2 in the Gulf Coast area that could provide CO2 supplies for offshore oil fields, including existing natural sources, the industrial facilities planning, CO2 capture, and the large fleet of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants in the area.
4. Significance of Subject Matter. The information in this paper provides a fresh perspective on the challenges and opportunities of pursuing CO2-EOR in the offshore oil reservoirs of the GOM.