Friday, April 27, 2007

Oil Companies versus the Kyoto Protocol

Majority of petroleum companies at present doesn’t agree on the Kyoto Protocol’s plea of carbon dioxide sequestration, but that’s about to change.

By: Vanessa Uy

The Kyoto Protocol is seen as Bolshevism by most of the existing petroleum companies who don’t have the fiscal incentive to find an effective and low cost method of storing the carbon dioxide by-products of oil and gas extraction process. The emphasis here is on the effective method of carbon dioxide storage/sequestration since future legislation might impose stiff fines on the companies who aren’t in line with the Kyoto Protocol.

Natural gas is by far the cleanest fossil fuel in current use, but it contains up to 10% carbon dioxide as it is extracted from the well/mine. Today, only a handful of environmentally conscious petroleum companies extract this carbon dioxide that’s mixed with the natural gas and return the carbon dioxide back to the mine in sandstone formations underground so that it won’t contribute to global warming.

The Insala Gas Plant in Nigeria has been doing carbon dioxide capture and storing them back underground since 2004. That’s way before precedents are agreed upon by the Kyoto Protocol. Although petroleum companies that does this on a voluntary basis are still the exception rather than the rule. Norway’s STATOIL also practices carbon dioxide capture/sequestration of their petroleum extraction by products and they posses the most sophisticated underground carbon dioxide storage facility to date as recognized by the IPCC, the inter government panel on climate change.

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