Described by the DOE as “a milestone” in its Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage program, Air Products’ carbon capture project in Port Arthur, Texas, recovers and purifies carbon dioxide from steam methane reformers located within Valero’s Port Arthur refinery. The CO2 is then transported in its gaseous state by Air Products via a pipeline owned by Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas for injection into the Denbury Onshore operated West Hastings Unit, an enhanced oil recovery project in Texas that then pumps the gas into disused oil wells in a bid to recover oil.
Only about 30 to 40 percent of the original oil in most US oil fields is recoverable by primary or secondary extraction methods. This can be increased to 50 to 60 percent through CO2-based enhanced oil recovery, according to Denbury Onshore. The DOE anticipates an additional estimated 1.6 million to 3.1 million barrels of oil to be produced annually from the CO2 supplied by Air Products. DOE says the project is ready to be replicated and deployed into commercial practice within the industry.
DOE provided 66 percent of the funding for the more than $400 million project. In June 2010, Air Products was selected to receive $253 million in funding from DOE through the National Energy Technology Laboratory under the ICCS Program, which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for this project. It later received an additional $30 million from DOE through the ARRA for final engineering, design, construction and project operation through September 2015. Air Products’ project was the only industrial gas company led undertaking selected by DOE, and one of only three projects receiving additional funding towards a commercial demonstration project.
The goals of the Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage program are to mitigate climate change through carbon capture, utilization and storage; create jobs; and position the US as a world leader in carbon-capture technologies, the DOE says.
A commercial carbon capture project in Illinois injected 317,000 metric tons of CO2 from an industrial plant into a subterranean reservoir in its first year. Led by the Illinois State Geological Survey, the Illinois Basin–Decatur Project is the first demonstration-scale project in the US to use CO2 from an industrial source and inject it into a saline reservoir. The CO2 is captured from an ethanol production facility operated by the Archer Daniels Midland Company in Decatur, Ill., and injected in a compressed “supercritical” state into the Mount Simon Sandstone reservoir some 7,000 feet below the surface.