The energy industry has found a new way to dispose of the greenhouse
gas carbon dioxide: pump it back into the underground oil reservoirs
from whence much of it came.

<>Five million tons of CO2 has been successfully pumped underground into the Weyburn oil field in a pilot project in Saskatchewan, Canada.

The CO2 is piped from the Great Plains Synfuels Plant, a giant "gasification" plant near Beulah, North Dakota.

Not only does the project dispose of the nasty CO2, the
pressure from the gas helps to extract more oil. The field’s
oil-recovery rate has been doubled, and its life extended for another
20 years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

In Western Canada alone, pumping CO2 into oil fields could yield billions of barrels of additional oil while reducing CO2
emissions to the tune of pulling more than 200 million cars off the
road for a year, said U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman in a
statement.

Weyburn is part of a $1 billion international CO2-injection venture that has the petroleum industry very interested — especially as oil prices continue to climb.

Similar projects are set to go forward in Texas and several other states, said Pete McGrail of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a Department of Energy lab in Washington state.

However, not all oil fields can be used for CO2 injection and storage, so there is a need for other gas-storage sites. CO2
storage has been tried only in sedimentary rock, but the Northwestern
and Southeastern United States are made mainly of basalt rock.

By Stephen Leahy

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