Regional-scale GHG utilization strategies for enhanced shale oil recovery and sustained carbon management

Anne H. Menefee, Brian R. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Recent advances in unconventional resource development have largely outpaced efforts to manage associated emissions that pose significant environmental risks. Regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from gases co-produced with oil has largely been driven by economics and logistics, but more intentional proactive strategies will be crucial to minimize adverse environmental and social impacts from continued development. Here, we explore opportunities to improve long-term GHG management from both industry and environmental perspectives through a regional case study in the Eagle Ford shale. Specifically, we propose reinjecting natural gas co-produced with oil for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) as an alternative to flaring where gas sales are infeasible. Based on historic production data along with recent experimental and pilot testing, we forecast gas availability and EOR potential through 2025. Results indicate gas reinjection could prevent a cumulative 250 Bcf of flared gas while adding 31.2 MMbbl of incremental oil over projected production rates. A high-level cost analysis indicates this strategy will be economical, particularly in light of the extent of Eagle Ford oil reserves and low primary recovery rates. Motivating industry buy-in will require policy intervention, but appropriate incentives and market assurances could promote gas recycling as a more sustainable alternative to traditional EOR techniques that would be required to maintain production rates in the coming decade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2018
Event14th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, GHGT 2018 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: Oct 21 2018Oct 25 2018


Conference14th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, GHGT 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Pollution
  • General Energy

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