--> Decarbonized Power, Energy for the Future: Clean Coal, CO2 Sequestration, and the EOR Prize in the Gulf Coast and Permian Basin, by William A. Ambrose, #80006 (2007).

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Decarbonized Power, Energy for the Future: Clean Coal, CO2 Sequestration, and the EOR Prize in the Gulf Coast and Permian Basin*


William A. Ambrose1


Search and Discovery Article #80006 (2007)

Posted June 27, 2007


*Adapted from presentation at convention luncheon, AAPG Southwest Section 2007 Convention, Wichita Falls, Texas, April 21-24, 2007


1Bureau of Economic Geology, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas ([email protected])



Decarbonized power in the U.S., obtained from coal with capture and sequestration of CO2, represents an enormous source of energy for the future. Numerous U.S. basins contain linked carbon sources and sinks, where use of clean-coal technology can provide near-zero-emission electric power generation, hydrogen production, and CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and enhanced coalbed methane recovery (ECBM). The U.S. coal resource base is approximately 6000 Quads (1015 British Thermal Units [Btu]), which greatly dwarfs its 300-Quad resources of oil and gas. Although upscaling the number of conventional coal-fired power plants can certainly meet increasing demands for energy, doing so will lead to increased air pollution, as well as more CO2 in the atmosphere. “Clean coal” technology offers a viable alternative. Power producers are beginning to implement a technology called integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), potentially a more efficient and less-polluting alternative to traditional pulverized coal plants. IGCC plants gasify coal to produce hydrogen that is burned in a combustion turbine. FutureGen is a new industry-government partnership to enable development and integration of new “clean coal” technologies. It is a $1-billion partnership between the US Department of Energy (DOE), private industry, and foreign countries to design, build, and operate a 275-megawatt, coal-fueled IGCC power plant with capture of 90% of CO2 and near-zero emissions of SOx and NOx. Areas suitable for FutureGen facilities must satisfy several technical criteria: (1) at least a 200-acre site with capacity for delivery of coal, (2) capacity for injectivity and long-term storage of significant volumes (approximately 50 million tons) of CO2 in brine-bearing formations with possible secondary injection into coal, and (3) appropriate infrastructure, including nearby rail facilities and pipelines. FutureGen will only be successful if it spawns the construction of a large number of FutureGen-like plants across the country that become sources for CO2 EOR and ECBM, as well as sequestration in deep brine reservoirs.


Outline of Presentation with Selected Figures and Text

 CO2 Sources and Sinks


Coal Resources and Economic Impact


Clean Coal and Decarbonized Energy


Decarbonized Coal Benefits

  • Environment: Benefits of capturing and storing CO2, a major greenhouse gas.

  • Energy: CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR), hydrogen.

  • Economy: Wellhead value, taxes, infrastructure development, jobs.


CO2 Stacked storage 

Emissions and Storage


  • Texas emits ~700 million metric tons annually.

  • The U.S. emits ~5700 million metric tons annually.

  • ~700 million metric tons of minimum CO2 storage exists in the Texas Gulf Coast from EOR.

  • ~220 billion metric tons of CO2 could be stored by filling 1% of the brine volume in sandstones from Alabama to the Mexico border (37,000 km3, 4000-12,000 ft depth).


CO2 EOR: Gulf Coast and Permian Basin


United States CO2 EOR

  • 2 Bcf/day (~35 MMTY) of CO2 currently injected for EOR, largely in the Permian Basin.

  • Annual US oil consumption is ~7 BSTB and annual oil production is ~3.2 BSTB.

  • Current US CO2 EOR production is ~206 MBOPD, 7.5 MMBOPY: 4% of US production 66 active projects, 50 in the Permian Basin.



  • Total US coal resource: 3,968 billion tons.

  • Clean coal benefits: Hydrogen, reduced CO2, EOR.

Wide variety of miscible CO2-EOR plays in Gulf Coast and Permian Basin.

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