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U.S. Department of Energy Announces $17.2 Million to Use Carbon Dioxide for Enhanced Oil Recovery in Unconventional Reservoirs, Combined with Carbon Storage
Funding Opportunity Announcement

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) today announced up to $17.2 million to evaluate the potential for unconventional oil production through a combined process that uses captured carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to recover residual oil—called CO2 enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR)—while safely and permanently storing that CO2 underground in the oilfield. The research targeted through this funding will help to accelerate carbon storage operations in depleted domestic oilfields, repurposing existing infrastructure in support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic decarbonization goals.

“Integrating geologic storage of carbon emissions into our key energy production processes is an important component of broader decarbonization and achieving President Biden’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050,” said Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “Combining carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery operations with permanent storage of captured carbon dioxide emissions in the same geologic formations provides an important pathway to accelerate carbon storage and help reduce the overall carbon footprint of that oil we will continue to produce while we transition to a net-zero energy and industrial economy.”

CO2-EOR is a technique used to recover oil, typically from mature fields that are no longer productive using traditional oil recovery methods, which can leave up to two-thirds of the original oil in place. In conventional oilfields, the CO2-EOR process is not only effective in increasing ultimate oil recovery, but also in its ability to geologically store CO2 emissions through the recovery process. Following the CO2-EOR operations, the captured CO2 remains permanently underground in the geologic formation, thereby prevented from entering the atmosphere. This funding opportunity focuses on examining the effectiveness of this process when applied to low-permeability, light-oil fields that have dominated new production in recent years.

Through scientific research carried out using a field laboratory, projects awarded this funding will inject CO2 under various scenarios, measure the volumes of incremental oil produced and CO2  permanently stored, and evaluate the conditions under which oil wells in depleted unconventional reservoirs can be transitioned to carbon storage wells in a manner that economically yields a reduction in carbon emissions.

Applicants for DOE funding must address the societal considerations and impacts of their proposed projects, emphasizing active engagement with communities. Applications must explain how projects are expected to deliver economic and environmental benefits and mitigate impacts; conduct community and stakeholder engagement; incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; and promote workforce development and quality jobs. Projects selected under this opportunity will be required to develop and implement strategies to ensure strong community and worker benefits, and report on such activities and outcomes.

Read more details about this FOA here. All questions must be submitted through FedConnect; register here for an account. Visit our website to find resources on how to include equity and conduct community engagement in project plans.

FECM minimizes environmental and climate impacts of fossil fuels and industrial processes while working to achieve net-zero emissions across our economy. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM website, sign up for FECM news announcements and visit the National Energy Technology Laboratory website.