Carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery is a technique via which carbon dioxide is injected into already developed oil fields. Once added, it mixes with the oil and frees it so that it can move into the production well. The carbon dioxide present along with the oil is separated above the ground with the help of various devices and injected once again into the oil field, by which way it can be recycled and reused after being utilized once.
The carbon dioxide required for this procedure used to initially be obtained through natural reserves of the gas present below the ground surface. Due to a limited supply of natural carbon dioxide, it is currently obtained from industrial facilities, power plants such as steel and cement plants, and fertilizer & ethanol production units. It is stored and occupied for the purpose of oil recovery which in turn helps curb pollution caused by excess amounts of carbon dioxide otherwise generated into the atmosphere through these power plants or manufacturing units.
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In recent times, there has been a surge in the usage of carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery due to various reasons. Through carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery, carbon dioxide can be effectively used to increase the capacity of oil produced in ageing oil fields. The traditional method involving crude oil yields about 20 to 40%, whereas carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery yields around 30 to 60%.
Gases commonly used for the process of enhanced oil recovery include natural gas, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. The advantages posed by carbon dioxide over other gases include its high miscibility in crude oil and comparatively low cost making it generally preferable. Carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery offers a wide scope for development and has also been adopted on a large scale in leading economies for its benefits over other traditional methods. The fact that it utilizes carbon dioxide which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and cause harmful effects to the environment plays an important role too.
Carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery has been widely adopted in North America for a long period of time as a method of obtaining oil from mature reserves. Hence, the market for carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery in this region is expected to witness rapid development in the next few years. Middle East & Africa offers excellent potential for this market due to the multitude of oil reserves present in the region as well as the various mature oil wells that are yet to be explored. The market for carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery in Asia Pacific is in its developmental stages and this technique is yet to be adopted on a full-fledged basis by a majority of the countries here.
Europe is home to a reasonable number of oil reserves which is predicted to lead to the expansion of the carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery market here in the future. However, the market in Latin America is likely to advance at a comparatively sluggish pace due to the limited oil reserves and thereby, scope of application in the region.