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Updated: October 11, 2017
Denbury Resources Inc. is seeking federal approval to construct a 110-mile pipeline from Bell Creek north to the Cedar Creek Anticline in eastern Montana. The $150 million pipeline would carry carbon dioxide (CO2), to be used in tertiary recovery of oil in older oil fields. The Cedar Creek Anticline is estimated to contain between 260-290 million barrels of oil still. The company is also proposing to build another pipeline to connect the Shute Creek site in southwestern Wyoming with an existing pipeline in central Wyoming. This 250 mile line would cost $400 million.
The company gets its carbon dioxide, considered as a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, from two natural gas processing plants in Wyoming. Denbury is unique that its main business is to develop stranded oil reserves from depleted reservoirs through CO2 enhanced oil recovery. While primary and secondary methods can recover 30 to 40% of the oil in place, this can be increased up to 20% by injecting CO2 into the formation. The CO2 is injected in and moves through the formation, acting like a solvent under the right temperature and pressure, and scrubbing oil from the formation. The oil/CO2 is pulled out of the producing well, and the oil is captured and the CO2 is recycled through the formation.
The US Bureau of Land Management will seek public comment on the proposal through November 3rd.