Friday, February 17, 2006

New Power Plant Gasifies Petroleum Coke, Pumps CO2 Into Old Oil Wells

A new $1 billion power plant proposed by BP in California will gasify petroleum coke, separating the hydrogen and burning that to produce electricity, while sending the resulting CO2 into depleted oil fields to enhance productivity. Peak Oil Debunked pointed to an Oil Drum post about enhanced CO2 recovery in Canada that, if applied to US reserves, has the potential to unleash 43 billion barrels of oil -- another Alaska!
I believe we are going to increasingly see a phenomenon which is familiar to anyone who has watched a marijuana smoker clean an old resin-encrusted pipe for a few more hits. There are incredible volumes of oil still remaining in old holes we discovered a long time ago, and pumped all the easy oil out of. So what are we going to do when we run out of new discoveries? We're going to go back to the old discoveries, and "clean the pipe".
Currently, most petroleum coke is shipped to Asia where it's used directly as a fuel. But the plant is far from a sure thing, and BP will be running feasibility studies over the next year. The critical problem I see thus far is the request for subsidies from the state; none of that, now.