Even better, scientists in Norway may have found a good way to store the captured carbon. At a conference in Vienna last summer, a team from the University of Bergen unveiled a promising advance in high-pressure oil and gas extraction. Rather than “fracking” underground rock formations to free trapped fuels, the scientists successfully injected carbon dioxide into core samples to force out trapped oil, leaving the carbon dioxide locked in its place. The new process “increased recoverable oil by an order of magnitude compared with fracking, and at the same time reduced the carbon footprint by associated CO2 storage,” the team summed up.
Fracking has been a game-changer for the U.S. economy, offering cheaper, cleaner fuel and the prospect of energy independence. But this process could be even better, if the Norwegian experiment can be proved in field tests. No more chemically contaminated water, no more fractured rocks and related earthquakes. Furthermore, by creating a lucrative market for large supplies of carbon dioxide, the new technology could drive rapid commercialization of “memzyme” scrubbers.
The full paper is here if anyone is interested.
My only real point with this, without wishing to sound repetitive, is that productivity improvements for shale seem to have significant further potential. Obviously ideas like this take a significant amount of time to come to fruition, but the will, resources, and capital to push the technical frontier for shale are clear. I imagine some tense moments in the bars of Bergen as the University staff explain to the boat owners and crew their idea and its potential implications for an “offshore recovery”…