CO2‐EOR: A Win‐Win‐Win for Energy, the Economy, and the Environment

By Janet Gellici, National Coal Council

The U.S. has the opportunity to produce billions of barrels of domestic oil and generate new sources of revenue, while simultaneously reducing significant volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2).

CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (CO2‐EOR) represents the most immediate, highest value opportunity to utilize the greatest volume of anthropogenic CO2 – estimated at up to 77,500 MMmt of captured CO2.

CO2‐EOR provides significant economic benefits and new revenue to a variety of stakeholders – with generated revenues estimated at $5.7 billion. CO2‐EOR also has the potential to recover up to 284 billion barrels of oil, representing about 69% of the United States’ estimated domestic oil resources of 414 bb.

The National Coal Council, a federally chartered advisory group to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, recently completed a report for then Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz assessing market opportunities for CO2 from coal‐based power plants. This article highlights key findings and recommendations from the report, “CO2 Building Blocks: Assessing CO2 Utilization Options.”


Fossil fuels – including coal, natural gas and oil – will remain the dominant global energy source well into the future by virtue of their abundance, supply security and affordability. There is a growing consensus among industry, the environmental community and governments worldwide
that future CO2 emission reduction goals cannot be met by renewable energy sources alone and that carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS)technologies for all fossil fuels will have to be deployed to achieve climate objectives. The development of commercial markets for captured CO2 can help promote the deployment of CCUS.