Way Down in the Hole - Everything You Need to Know About CO2 and Carbon Capture

Not so long ago, most folks in the energy industry hardly gave carbon dioxide (CO2) a thought. Sure, some CO2 was used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and in some production areas the natural gas coming out of the ground had to be treated to remove high levels of CO2. But otherwise, CO2 wasn’t on the industry’s radar. Now though, CO2 is a front-and-center concern not just for the energy industry but for society at large as the global economy tries to decarbonize. And while renewable energy like wind and solar will be part of that decades-long effort, so will the push to capture CO2 and permanently store it deep underground. Put simply, it’s time for producers, midstreamers, and refiners alike to gain a deeper understanding of carbon capture and sequestration, how it will affect them, and — ideally — how they can profit from it. In today’s RBN blog, we discuss highlights from our new Drill Down Report.

Carbon dioxide may not be the most potent of the greenhouse gases (GHGs), but it is by far the most prevalent, and efforts to reduce or eliminate those emissions are at the forefront of global climate goals and the ongoing energy transition. The idea of capturing CO2 from industrial and power-generation sources, cooling and compressing it into a supercritical state, then pumping it deep underground might have once seemed like a crazy idea, but not anymore. When CO2 is captured and stored, and that’s all, the process is called carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and utilizes a Class VI injection well (right side of Figure 1) for long-term storage in saline formations. If the CO2 is used for some other process before it’s stored via a Class II well, it is called carbon capture, use, and sequestration (CCUS) — the most common example being EOR (left side of Figure 1).

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