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Carbon dioxide spurs Devon's oil production in Wyoming

Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp. is using carbon dioxide to boost oil production from an oil field in Wyoming, while the state works to identify ways to increase such operations.
by Jay F. Marks Published: May 11, 2012

Devon Energy Corp. is looking for opportunities to capitalize on its expertise in using carbon dioxide in enhanced oil recovery.

Devon is producing about 5,700 barrels of oil a day from its Beaver Creek operation in central Wyoming. That is about 9 percent of the company's U.S. production.

It relies on the injection of liquefied carbon dioxide into an old oil field to boost production, said Thom Holmes, Devon's manager of production engineering for the Rockies region.

Holmes said it is the only project of its kind for Devon, which acquired the property in 2000 when it bought Santa Fe Snyder Corp.

The field, which has been producing oil since 1954, produced about 250 barrels a day at the time.

Holmes said Devon began studying the field in search of an economical way to boost production.

Enhanced production with carbon dioxide became a viable option when oil rose above $80 a barrel, he said.

Holmes said Devon uses carbon dioxide from an Exxon Mobil Corp. field that's about 100 miles from the Beaver Creek operation.

Devon spent more than $100 million for pipelines, a carbon dioxide injection plant and related equipment. The company began injecting carbon dioxide in 2008.

Officials had expected the Beaver Creek project to yield as much as 4,600 barrels of oil a day, so Holmes said they were pleased to be able to surpass that figure.

He said the field — which includes about 18 production wells and as many injection wells — is expected to produce as much as 12 million barrels of oil.

It already has yielded about 3.5 million barrels for Devon.

“This is oil that would not have been produced in any other way,” Holmes said.

Chaparral's example

Oklahoma City's Chaparral Energy Inc. has been using carbon dioxide to spur oil production since the late 1990s, based on CEO Mark Fisher's experience with water floods at Exxon.

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by Jay F. Marks
Energy Reporter
Jay F. Marks has been covering Oklahoma news since graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1996. He worked in Sulphur and Enid before joining The Oklahoman in 2005. Marks has been covering the energy industry since 2009.
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