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Monday, July 15, 2013

Study to look at Marcellus wells for enhanced gas production and CO2 storage

Researchers from Penn State University, West Virginia University, and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory are studying the possibility of capturing carbon dioxide produced at power plants and industrial facilities and pumping it into existing Marcellus natural gas wells in Pennsylvania – to enhance gas production and to extend the life of the wells, and to provide for permanent storage of CO2.

The study started in the fall of 2011 and is expected to be completed in November 2013. It will look at the economics of enhanced gas recovery – similar in concept to enhanced oil recovery.  Researchers recognize that the costs of the process can be substantially decreased – and the economics of using CO2 in this dual manner substantially improved -  through shared transportation infrastructure like pipelines and compressor stations.  So, they are studying the feasibility of building a transportation network that could capture the carbon dioxide at multiple power plants and industrial facilities and transport it to the wells where it would be injected and stored.

While significant questions remain about whether fracking precludes - or at least potentially conflicts with -  underground storage of CO2, the Penn State/WVU/NETL study is an important one whose results will merit close scrutiny.

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