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Daily Mail: Shell abandons CO2 injection plans

Tuesday, August 28,2007

HOPES for a ‘clean coal’ revolution have been dealt a blow after North Sea oil fields were ruled out as a home for greenhouse gases.

Energy giants such as Royal Dutch Shell and BP have been investigating the possibility of capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions In ageing oil reservoirs.

The benefits would be twofold. Not only could this reduce global warming by sequestering CO2 under the ocean floor, but it could help enhance oil recovery rates.

But it has emerged that ageing oil platforms won’t be able the host the equipment needed to pump CO2 from power plants to undersea reservoirs, industry players said.

Shell has now abandoned hopes of injecting CO2 into the Draugen field, off Norway’s coastline, because there’s not enough oil remaining to make the project commercially viable and it would take a year-long shutdown to install the equipment.

A spokesman said: ‘The evaluation on Draugen Is that although it is technically obtainable it is not commercially feasible to do enhanced oil recovery there.’

Shell is still trying to decide If alternative carbon dumps such as salt acquifers could be used instead. These offer the same environmental benefits, but without giving a boost to North Sea oil production.

The news will come as a blow to the government, which is preparing to plunge up to £1bn of taxpayer money into experimental clean coal power plants.

The UK is hoping to steal a march on overseas competitors by becoming a leading light in the technology that reduces the harmful effects of coal – the world’s dirtiest but most plentiful major fuel.

A BP project with Scottish & Southern Energy that would have injected CO2 into the Miller field in the North Sea fell apart in May.

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