The recycling plant would represent a loop system; while continuously feeding additional CO2 from the pipeline and continuously re-injecting, and feeding source product. The payback is a function of operating such an EOR project over the long haul, due to this expensive capital and operational investment.
Frac has been discussed in the media today highly specific to hydraulic fracturing. However, this is separate from what has been so-called traditional fracs. Traditional fracs have often required and greatly benefitted from CO2 as an energised fluid; where hydraulic fracs have not generally called for this requirement. As for traditional frac service, this application for CO2 is generally performed by the oilfield service c
Hydraulic fracturing – The exception to the rule?
I have worked with various projects which conceivably could use carbon dioxide in hydraulic fracturing, in the large major shale fields such as the Marcellus field in the Mid-Atlantic states, the Bakken in the upper plains, the Eagle Ford and Barnett fields in Texas, plus conceivably many more in the Midwest, Southeast and Middle South – plus the Rockies and Southern California.
This existing and potential capacity of new natural gas from the shale fields is nothing short of amazing. However, given all this capacity from all the fields mentioned, this technology, today, does not really call for CO2 usage.
The problem with CO2 usage in hydraulic fracturing is that most of these fractures are generally achieved via (primarily) water, then maybe a small addition of (so-called benign) agents such as sodium chloride, and citric acid; and maybe glycols would be added as well. When I recently worked with CO2 projects surrounding hydraulic fracturing in the southwest, and Middle Atlantic region, the consensus from the major service companies indicated no CO2 use currently – and generally no likely need.
The exception to this may be in truly arid regions of the country with little water, and/or regions with difficulty recycling the water, and disposing of the residue from the process water. Further, there has been some mention of hydraulic frac work possibly using the CO2 in so-called clean-up operations. Therefore, based on what has been said by the major oil and gas service companies, and my work in this sector, there is not a significant market for CO2 in the service of hydraulic fracturing.
The so-called traditional frac work has, and will continue to use CO2; and this is essentially in markets and formations not consistent with the now-popular shale field production of natural gas.