Enhancing North Sea oil recovery can store more CO2 much faster says SCCS report

Linking the development of enhanced oil recovery in the North Sea to low-carbon electricity can bring significant benefits to the wider UK economy while accelerating carbon storage and providing the most cost-effective pathway to UK decarbonisation targets, a new report proposes. 

A comprehensive new analysis by a Joint Industry Project has been made of injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) derived from low-carbon electricity production and industry to enhance oil recovery from existing North Sea fields (CO2-EOR). 

The report shows that a synergy between CO2-EOR and Capture and Storage (CCS) could be the driver for developing both technologies in the UK Continental Shelf. Part of the CO2 that would otherwise go directly to dedicated storage in CCS projects could be used to drive CO2-EOR, bringing significant benefits to the wider UK economy – including extending the producing life of the North Sea, reducing imports of oil, maintaining employment, developing new capability to drive exports, and additional direct and indirect taxation revenues. 

This approach could also provide the most cost-effective way to accelerate an energy transition between 2018 and 2030 to meet UK Committee on Climate Change decarbonisation pathways, say the authors. 

Professor Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director at the University of Edinburgh and UKCCSRC Coordination Group member, said: “North Sea oil and gas are facing an existential cost challenge, and at the same time the UK is struggling to fund its electricity decarbonisation clean-up. The beauty of this new analysis is that it shows how to help develop big projects in the power industry, while also supporting a transition of the abilities and profits from offshore hydrocarbons into new, sustainable jobs.”

For more information visit the SCCS website here.

To download the summary report click here.