Occidental’s Permian EOR business unit manages carbon dioxide (CO2) where our leadership in applying CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques for increased oil production is a key competitive advantage for the company. In the Permian, Occidental operates more carbon dioxide (CO2) floods than any other CO2 flood operator. Nearly three quarters of our Permian Basin EOR business unit oil production is from fields that actively employ CO2 flooding, an EOR technique in which CO2 is injected into oil reservoirs, causing the trapped oil to flow more easily and efficiently.
Each year we inject more than 950 billion cubic feet of CO2 into oil reservoirs in the Permian, making Occidental the largest injector of CO2 for EOR in the Permian Basin, and among the largest globally. Occidental is an industry leader in applying this technology, which can increase ultimate oil recovery by 10 to 25 percent in the fields where it is employed.
In 2015, Occidental completed Phase One of the CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery expansion project at its South Hobbs Unit. The additional CO2 has resulted in a 50 percent increase in oil production, which is expected to grow over the next few years. Occidental plans to invest an estimated $550 million over the next several years for additional CO2 floods and expansions in North and South Hobbs Units.
Occidental relies upon several sources to ensure an adequate supply of CO2 for our EOR operations, including the Occidental-operated Bravo Dome field in northeastern New Mexico and additional supplies from methane fields in the southwestern Permian. Occidental’s Century Plant in Pecos County, Texas, further expands our EOR infrastructure in the Permian Basin. The plant processes natural gas with high-CO2 content, resulting in methane gas for the market as well as a major source of CO2 for our Permian operations.
In addition to boosting oil production, CO2 EOR can have environmental benefits. The CO2 circulates within a closed loop, which means over time, much of the CO2 purchased to implement the CO2 flood ultimately becomes permanently and safely trapped in the underground oil reservoir. CO2 EOR therefore is a means of permanent geologic storage of carbon dioxide. This could contribute to the reduction of future greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.