Ethanol coproduct to be used in enhanced oil recovery

By Erin Voegele | January 03, 2014

Australia-based Elk Petroleum Inc. recently announced it has finalized and executed a binding agreement with Nebraska-based Bridgeport Ethanol LLC. Under the agreement, Elk Petroleum will purchase carbon dioxide generated at Bridgeport’s 50 MMgy ethanol plant and use it for enhanced oil recovery projects at nearby oil fields, including the Singleton oil field.

The agreement was first announced on Nov. 27 and was finalized one month later on Dec. 27. According to Elk Petroleum, the agreement provides a 10 year term with possible extensions. The company also noted that it has a three-year option period before starting carbon dioxide purchase from Bridgeport Ethanol. During that time, carbon dioxide compression facilities and a carbon dioxide pipeline can be constructed.

Elk Petroleum has estimated that the Bridgeport Ethanol plant produces approximately 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, or approximately 7 million cubic feet per day. The company also noted that the carbon dioxide is almost pure and requires minimum processing other than compression and dehydration.

“When the agreements to acquire CO2 supplies and the Singleton Unit are completed, Elk will have established a new focus area for Elk. The CO2 supply is appropriate in size to provide not only for the development of a CO2-based [enhanced oil recovery] project at Singleton, but at a number of nearby oil fields. Development and enhanced oil production could follow relatively quickly and Elk is working to complete related planning and will then look for a JV partner to join Elk in funding development activities. Chaparral Energy is producing 700 BOPD from the Booker area in Texas using a similar volume of CO2 that is piped 90 km from the Arkalon ethanol plant in Kansas and is reporting a rate of return in the 25 percent to 35 percent range for these projects; Elk believes it can achieve a similar project outcome in Nebraska,” said Scott Hornafius, CEO of Elk Petroleum, in a statement issued in November.