Policy ForumEnergy and Climate

Global carbon intensity of crude oil production

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Science  31 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6405, pp. 851-853
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar6859

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  • RE: Mohammad S. et al., Global carbon intensity of crude oil production, Science 361 (6405), 851-853

    This article presents important benchmark to build on in the analysis of CI and enhancing upstream energy efficiency and minimizing flaring of natural gas. I differ with your recommendations in the level of emphasis you put on energy efficiency.
    1. Flaring is a management and infrastructure problem and is not an unavoidable outcome of crude oil production. The same is also true of energy efficiency. Oil field development should incorporate con¬servation methods to eliminate routine flar¬ing. The same is critically true of energy efficiency.
    2. Focus should be put on fields in the 95% and not only the upper end 5% of the CI curve. All oil fields with significant flaring, heavy oils, as well as fields experiencing poor energy management practices should be the focus of mitigation measures. Your analysis imply significant lack of “in-house” energy efficiency among the majority of oil producing oil fields worldwide with some exceptions as I point below.
    3. I agree that fields in the highest 5th percentile should receive particular focus given the magnitude of emissions of fields with significant flaring, heavy crude oil processing, and enhanced oil recovery.
    4. The article’s analysis could be enhanced through focus on oil recovery by stage with a breakdown of oil fields into primary, secondary, and tertiary recovery and not only a classification of fields by API and use of enhanced oil recovery. While energy intensiveness of tertiary recovery exc...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) plays a key role in negative emission technologies

    Mohammad S. et al. wrote an article entitled “Global carbon intensity of crude oil production” (1). A variety of negative emission technologies have been proposed. An algae bioreactor has been developed that transforms CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion into valuable biofuels and phytonutrients (2). Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) will play a key role in reducing CO2 emissions (3). The CCS chain consists of three parts; capturing the carbon dioxide, transporting the carbon dioxide, and securely storing the carbon dioxide emissions, underground in depleted oil and gas fields or deep saline aquifer formations (3). Although the limited potential for eliminating CO2 emissions (4), the world’s first “negative emissions” plant has begun operation—turning carbon dioxide into stone (5). CCS technology can be also applied to coal power (6).

    References:
    1. Mohammad S. et al., Global carbon intensity of crude oil production, Science 361 (6405), 851-853
    2. https://www.symbioticcities.net/a-real-climate-change-solution-
    3. http://www.ccsassociation.org/what-is-ccs/
    4. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02184-x
    5....

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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