Japan, China to use CO2 injection to extract crude oil


Tokyo : Japan and China will jointly embark on a project that will inject carbon dioxide emitted from a fossil fuel power plant into an oil field to boost crude extraction, a major financial newspaper here reported Saturday.

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The two countries, the world’s second- and third-biggest oil consumers — will pledge cooperation in a statement to be issued at the meeting between Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Chinese President Hu Jintao on May 7, the Nikkei Shimbun said. The cost is estimated to total JPY 20-30 billion (USD 191-286 million), and the operation is expected to kick off next year, the paper said.

Japanese investors will include a major plant engineering firm JGC Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. as well as the government agency.

Among the prospective Chinese stakeholders are the China National Petroleum Corp., the nation’s largest oil company, and the state-run China Huadian Corp., according to the daily.

Under the plan, CO2 from a coal-fired power plant in the ciy of Harbin in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province — a plant that emits more than 1 million tons of the global warming gas a year — will be transported about 100 km to the west to an oil field in Daqing, the paper said.

The oil field produces more than 40 million tons a year of particularly viscous crude. Injecting the CO2 can make crude oil more liquid and easier to extract, boosting output there by 1.5 million to 2 million tons a year.

Using technology to capture CO2, emissions from coal-fired power plants into the atmosphere can be reduced to essentially zero. By linking sequestration to oil extraction, the operation is expected to turn a profit, the report said.

China is said to have become the world’s largest CO2 emitter in 2007, and the nation relies on coal-fired power plants for 63 percent of its electric power needs.