WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) — A study found that injecting a greenhouse gas into older oilfields could squeeze out millions more barrels of crude, the U.S. Department of Energy said.
The DOE said the results reported by the University of Kansas established the feasibility of using carbon dioxide to extend the productivity of U.S. oilfields while at the same time permanently keeping the gas out of the atmosphere.
The study focused on the Arbuckle Formation in Kansas, home to various mature oilfields where production peaked in the 1950s. The area is occupied primarily by small producers and typical of several other fields in the state.
Researchers used core samples from the Arbuckle to simulate a process in which carbon dioxide is pumped deep underground and where it mixes with crude oil. The result of the process, known as near-miscible CO2 flooding, is a swelling of the oil that pushes it toward the production well.
The DOE said in a written statement the results mean as much as 500 million barrels of crude could someday be recovered from Kansas fields.
The next phase of the project will be to better map the Arbuckle Formation.