Source-Sink Matching and Potential for Carbon Capture and Storage in the Gulf Coast
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Current global levels of anthropogenic CO2 emissions are 25.6 Gigatons yr. Approximately 1 Gigaton comes from the Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi Gulf Coast, representing 16 percent of the U.S. annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. The Gulf Coast region provides an opportunity for addressing the problem. Geologic sequestration results from the capturing of CO2 from combustion products and injecting the compressed gas as a supercritical fluid into subsurface brine aquifers for long-term storage. The Gulf Coast overlies an unusually thick succession of highly porous and permeable sand aquifers separated by thick shale aquitards. The Gulf Coast also has a large potential for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), in which CO2 injected into suitable oil reservoirs could be used first for EOR and then for large-volume, long-term storage of CO2 in nonproductive formations below the reservoir interval. For example, there are numerous opportunities for locating CO2 injection wells either in fields for EOR or in stacked brine aquifers near potential FutureGen sites, where a near-zero emission facility would generate primarily hydrogen and CO2 as by-products. We estimate that in the Gulf Coast, outside of the traditional area of CO2 EOR in the Permian Basin, an additional 4.5 billion barrels of oil could be produced by using miscible CO2. At $60 per barrel, this incremental production is estimated to have a wellhead value of $270 billion that could generate more than $40 billion in taxes.