Senator Kent Conrad was joined by Brad Crabtree, the policy director of the Great Plains Institute, and other energy industry leaders from across North Dakota today to discuss technology that could put billions of barrels of oil on the market.
The group, which included members of the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI), discussed the potential of using carbon dioxide produced from industrial sources to increase the amount of economically recoverable oil in the United States.
"Today, I met with leaders who recognize the incredible potential of taking carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and sending it underground to produce far more oil than we otherwise could," Sen. Conrad said. "I am excited to see the work being done to move forward on this first generation of enhanced oil recovery projects."
The NEORI is a working group of almost 30 energy industry members, state regulators, and environmental group members and was co-founded by the Great Plains Institute and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. Sen. Conrad was a lead sponsor of the NEORI when it was launched last year.
In the meeting, Crabtree explained the recommendations of the NEORI group for realizing the full potential of enhanced oil recovery.
"CO2-enhanced oil recovery and the policy recommendations made by the NEORI offer our nation a win-win-win opportunity to increase domestic oil production, create jobs and spur investment here at home, and address important environmental concerns," Crabtree said. "Senator Conrad deserves real credit for his bi-partisan leadership to advance policies that support CO2-enhanced oil recovery."
The Department of Energy estimates that standard oil production techniques leave as much as 80 percent of the original oil in place. Employing carbon dioxide in enhanced oil recovery could lead to a potential 67 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil -- an increase of 45 billion barrels from the 22 billion barrels of current U.S. proven oil reserves, according to the National Energy Technology Lab.
In early August, Sen. Conrad was joined by Senators Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) in introducing an amendment in the Senate Finance Committee that would improve an existing incentive to capture carbon dioxide. The proposed amendment reflects the recommendations of the NEORI for spurring new enhanced oil recovery projects.
"This credit will help give electric utilities the certainty they need to invest in carbon capture technology, reducing the amount of carbon emitted into our atmosphere while helping electric utilities continue using coal to provide affordable electricity to consumers," Sen. Conrad said.
The amendment requires projects to be certified in order to receive the credit and is not expected to change the overall cost of the current incentive. The senators plan to introduce the amendment as stand-alone legislation later this year.