DOE - Fossil Energy Techline - Issued on: October 5, 1999
Energy Department Releases Report Citing Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil, Gas Technology
Washington, DC - It takes 22,000 fewer wells annually to develop the same amount of oil and gas reserves as it did in 1985. That's one of the interesting findings in a new Department of Energy report that chronicles the advancement of technology in U.S. oil and gas fields and the significant environmental benefits that have resulted.
The report highlights 36 specific technological innovations as representative of a much larger set of improvements that have occurred during the last 30 years. These advances have enabled the domestic petroleum industry to increase the efficiency of its exploration and production efforts, while improving its environmental track record.
For example, according to the report:
"We have only scratched the surface of what is possible - and of what technological improvements can do to benefit the energy security and environmental quality for future generations," Gee said.
For example, the report calls attention to new downhole oil and water separation devices that could increase the proportion of oil that flows from a well, while decreasing by as much as 95 percent the amount of water that must be disposed of. If these devices are widely deployed, as much as 5 billion barrels per year of produced water that otherwise would have been brought to the surface will remain in the ground.
The report also cites new technology being developed that can capture 95 percent or more of the methane gas now emitted in oil and gas operations, which contributes to greenhouse gas concerns. In the future, carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas, captured from factories and electric power plants may be injected into oil reservoirs to enhance oil recovery, or into coal seams, or into natural gas storage fields to prevent it from entering the atmosphere.
-End of TechLine-
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