Carbon Capture for Oil May Generate $4.3 Billion for Scotland

The use of carbon dioxide to increase oil extraction could generate as much as 2.7 billion pounds ($4.3 billion) for Scotland’s economy provided policies to support the technology are in place, a report showed.

Injecting the gas into 19 suitable oilfields on the U.K. continental shelf may recover 1 billion barrels of oil, according to the report, commissioned by government agency Scottish Enterprise and published today.

While European countries are yet to use CO2 to boost oil recovery, the method is employed at projects in the U.S. and Canada. As well as helping to drive out crude from aging fields, carbon injection also harnesses emissions from power plants and factories that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.

While the U.K. government has resurrected a 1 billion-pound carbon-capture funding program that failed last year, the plan dropped a proposal to use CO2 for oil extraction.

Investment in so-called enhanced oil recovery will depend on policy support for carbon capture, crude prices and improved CO2 supply, according to the report. A “wait-and-see approach” may lead to missed opportunities because most suitable U.K. oilfields are slated to be decommissioned by the 2030s, it said.

The highest rate of enhanced oil recovery at the continental shelf could add 2.7 billion pounds in gross value to the Scottish economy and create jobs, according to the research.

“With more than half of the value of the North Sea’s oil and gas reserves yet to be extracted -- up to 24 billion recoverable barrels with a potential wholesale value of 1.5 trillion pounds -- oil and gas will remain an enormous economic resource for decades,” Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said in a statement from Scottish Enterprise accompanying the report.

Element Energy Ltd., Dundas Consultants and the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University compiled the research.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Sally Bakewell in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at

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