Wyoming ended 20 years of declining oil production in 2005 with the help of a major CO2 flooding project at the Salt Creek oil field in the southern Powder River Basin. In enhanced oil recovery, alternate flows of water and CO2 are pumped into an oil reservoir, sweeping additional volumes of oil to production wells.
With the high price of oil, many Wyoming producers are eager to use enhanced oil recovery methods such as water flooding and CO2 injection to revitalize old oil fields. Most older oil fields still have significant reserves that were not attainable through primary recovery methods.
In 2005, about 8.5 percent of Wyoming’s total oil production came from enhanced oil recovery using CO2 injection, according to the Wyoming Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute.
An estimated 8 million barrels of oil remain in Wyoming, of which up to 15 percent can be recovered using various enhanced oil recovery methods, according to the Wyoming State Geological Survey.
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