CO2 storage and enhanced oil recovery 'can aid economy'

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Oil rig
Image caption,
The report claimed an extra one billion barrels of oil could be recovered over time

Combining carbon storage with enhanced oil recovery techniques in key fields could generate up to £2.7bn in extra economic output, a report has claimed.

The report, compiled for Scottish Enterprise, said the process could lead to an extra one billion barrels of oil being recovered over time.

It also claimed the move could help to create and sustain hundreds of jobs.

The report identified 19 potentially suitable oil fields on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

It estimated that the combination of carbon storage and enhanced recovery techniques could generate between £300m and £2.7bn in additional gross value added (GVA) for the economy.

If fully exploited, it estimated projects in key oil fields could contribute 15% of all UKCS oil production by 2030.

The report also suggested extra tax receipts generated by additional extraction could be used to offset initial financial support for carbon capture storage (CCS), and help it compete better with other low carbon power generation technologies.

The report was produced for Scottish Enterprise by Element Energy with Dundas Consultants Ltd and the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot Watt University.

'Enormous resource'

The UK government has been looking to develop CCS technology, which could in time lead to CO2 gas being pumped to North Sea oil fields where it could be used for enhanced oil recovery.

The basic concept is that by pushing carbon dioxide in to a field, more oil can be extracted.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "With more than half of the value of the North Sea's oil and gas reserves yet to be extracted - up to 24 billion recoverable barrels with a potential wholesale value of £1.5 trillion - oil and gas will remain an enormous economic resource for decades to come.

"Carbon capture and storage technology implemented on a commercial scale would drive a significant reduction in carbon emissions from fossil fuels, increasing our security of supply, and presenting enormous opportunities for Scotland."

He added: "Maximising oil recovery will lead to huge gains for Scotland - recovering just 1% more oil could lead to an increase of £22bn in the total oil recovered."

David Rennie, director of CCS at Scottish Enterprise, said: "This report provides strong evidence of the significant economic potential in developing carbon capture and storage on the UK Continental Shelf, particularly when combined with enhanced oil recovery techniques."

Last month, two Scottish bidders made the shortlist for the next phase of the UK government's £1bn Carbon Capture Scheme Competition.

Grangemouth and Peterhead were selected along with two other projects as potential sites to demonstrate CCS technology.

Each project was evaluated for deliverability, value for money, and the government's aim of creating a UK CCS industry in the 2020s.

A decision on which projects will go ahead will be taken in the new year.

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