October 13, 2010 / 11:03 PM / in 8 years

UK may miss carbon-spurred N.Sea oil bonanza -study

* Carbon enhanced oil recovery worth 150 bln pounds -study

* Abandoning oilfields may curtail opportunities

LONDON, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Time is running out for Britain to recover billions of pounds worth of additional oil by injecting captured carbon dioxide into exhausted North Sea oil fields, a Durham university study said on Thursday.

Oil recovery using carbon emissions could yield an additional 3 billion barrels of oil over the next 20 years, worth around 150 billion pounds ($239 billion), but only if Britain acts quickly to invest in carbon capture technology and to stop oilfields from being abandoned, the study said.

“Time is running out to make best use of our precious remaining oil reserves because we’re losing vital infrastructure as the oil fields decline and are abandoned,” Jon Gluyas, earth sciences professor at Durham university, said.

“Once the infrastructure is removed, we will never go back and the opportunity will be wasted.”

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology catches climate-warming emissions to be buried, and the resulting carbon can be flushed into oilfield to force out oil that would otherwise be unreachable.

“My figures are at the low end of expectations, but they show that developing this technology could lead to a huge rejuvenation of the North Sea,” Gluyas said.

“The industrial carbon dioxide output from Aberdeen to Hull is all you need to deliver this enhanced oil recovery.”

Britain is committed to CCS as a way to cut carbon emissions, even though the technology is untried on a commercial scale. The government plans to fund four demonstration projects by 2020. [ID:nLDE6930QT]

Britain’s North Sea oilfield production peaked in 1999, with oil output projected to fall 26 percent from 2009-2015, according to government figures. [ID:nLDE68T1WG] (Reporting by Kwok W. Wan; editing by xxx)

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