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Title: Carbon Life Cycle Analysis of CO2-EOR for Net Carbon Negative Oil (NCNO) Classification (Final Report)

Technical Report ·
DOI:· OSTI ID:1525864
ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [2]
  1. Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States). Bureau of Economic Geology, Gulf Coast Carbon Center
  2. Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States). Hildebrand Dept. of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering

This final report summarizes the work that was conducted to achieve the project’s general objective of developing a clear and repeatable methodology to determine whether the oil produced in a conventional CO2 enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) operation can be classified as Net Carbon Negative Oil (NCNO). The report also summarizes the reservoir mass accounting methodology and the monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) methodology, which are critical elements that support the general objective and were conceived as project goals. Because the purpose is to classify the EOR product (crude oil) and not the EOR project itself, and as the rate of crude oil production varies significantly with time, the methodology uses a novel dynamic carbon lifecycle analysis (d-LCA) that links instant energy demand and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to instant operational performance. The EOR operational performance is assessed through CO2 utilization rates, which relate usage of CO2 to oil production This dynamic method provides a better understanding of the evolution of the environmental impact (CO2 emissions) and mitigation (geologic CO2 storage) associated with an expanded carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) system, from start to closure of operations. The dynamic interplay between operational and environmental performance forms the basis of our CCUS technology analysis. The LCA part of the work is meant to complement previous NETL LCA work, and so it focused on EOR/storage efficiency, its variability through time, and the impact of this variability on LCA results. The environmental impact of the CCUS system was assessed for 3 system boundaries: (1) gate-to-gate, (2) gate-to-grave, and (3) cradle-to-grave. The environmental impact was also assessed considering the electricity displacement from other generation facilities. Another goal of our study was to use results to make recommendations on EOR field development strategies that are conducive to producing NCNO. Because field operational strategies have a significant impact on reservoir engineering parameters that affect both CO2 storage and oil production (e.g., sweep efficiency, flood conformance, fluid saturation distribution), we conducted a scenario analysis that assesses the operational and environmental performance of four common and novel CO2-EOR field development strategies. Results show that all CO2-EOR evaluated scenarios start operating with a negative carbon footprint and, years into the project, transition into operating with a positive carbon footprint. Having achieved a result that proves that all CO2-EOR operations produce NCNO during the first years of production is critical in the context of the urgency of climate change mitigation. Transition points are significantly different in each scenario. ii In a cradle-to-grave CCUS system, if the capture facility displaces a conventional power source and credits are added for displacement, the adverse impact caused by the system expansion not only is reversed but transformed into a significant environmental benefit. The effect of the displacement more than compensates the emissions associated with the electricity generation requirements for the production of CO2, as much more electricity will be displaced. Results provide an understanding of the evolution of the system’s net carbon balance of all four field development strategies studied. This information can be useful to CO2-EOR operators seeking value in storing more CO2 through a carbon credit program (e.g., the 45Q federal carbon credit program). Most importantly, this study serves as confirmation that CO2-EOR can be operationally designed to both enhance oil production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

Research Organization:
Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States)
Sponsoring Organization:
DOE Contract Number:
Report Number(s):
Country of Publication:
United States