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A regulatory framework for migrating from enhanced oil recovery to carbon capture and storage: The USA experience

Energy Procedia
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.egypro.2011.02.596
  • Regulation
  • Regulatory Frameworks
  • Legal Developments
  • Enhanced Oil Reocvery
  • Eor
  • Law


Abstract The significant CO2 pipeline and CO2 injection well infrastructure developed in the United States over four decades of underground injections of CO2 for Enhanced Oil Recovery (“EOR”) operations was accompanied by development of a legal and regulatory framework for the incidental geologic storage of CO2 during EOR operations. That framework currently forbids incremental injections of anthropogenic CO2 beyond those required for oil recovery but that could be injected for the sole purpose of reducing atmospheric emissions of CO2. This paper summarizes some key aspects of the current legal and regulatory framework applicable to the transportation and underground injection of CO2 in connection with EOR operations and identifies those elements that are adequate to support CO2 transport and injection for carbon capture and storage (“CCS”) purposes. The paper next discuses regulatory changes underway that are intended to fill the regulatory gaps to allow for incremental injections of CO2 in the CCS context. Particular attention is paid to the current rulemaking proceedings before the USA Environmental Protection Agency governing permitting of CO2 injection wells for CCS purposes as well as some approaches to addressing potential regulation of CO2 pipelines and related matters. In concluding, the paper seeks briefly review the status of transposition of the European Union’s CCS Directive into binding national norms and points out some contrasts with the USA experience due to the absence of an EOR industry in Europe.

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