Senator Kent Conrad introduced bipartisan legislation today that would help put billions of additional barrels of oil on the market while taking important steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The Senator said the bill accomplishes the dual goals of efficient oil recovery and environmental stewardship through state of the art carbon capture technology.
"I am confident many of my colleagues will 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. "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."
The bill -- which Senator Conrad co-authored with Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) - would modify the existing carbon capture and storage tax incentive, which provides a credit of $10 per ton of industrial carbon dioxideused in enhanced oil recovery projects and $20 per ton for carbon dioxide placed directly in secure geological storage.
Senator Conrad said this bill reflects the recommendations of the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) for spurring new 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.
"This legislation will help innovative companies attract the private investment they need to get key carbon capture technology projects across the finish line and increase American oil production, create jobs, and address important environmental concerns, all at the same time," said Brad Crabtree, Policy Director of the Great Plains Institute and co-director of NEORI. "NEORI members appreciate the leadership of Senator Conrad and his colleagues Senator Enzi and Senator Rockefeller, and they welcome the Senators' bipartisan efforts to advance legislation in Congress to support further deployment of CO2-EOR in the U.S."
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.