UND’s EERC develops method to extract Bakken oil that’s better for both environment & industry

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UND's Energy and Environment Research Center (EERC) has developed a way to extract more oil from the Bakken while also cutting down on C02 emissions. That and more in this week's KX Ag & Energy Insight.

UND’s Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) has been doing research on capturing carbon dioxide for twenty years.

The idea is to capture C02 emissions from facilities like lignite coal-fired power plants and sending it permanently deep underground as a way to mitigate climate change. EERC thinks there’s a better use for captured C02, though — and it’s enhanced oil recovery.


When C02 is injected into the Bakken it mobilizes more oil than current technology. Right now we’re capturing about 8 percent of the oil in the Bakken. With Enhanced Oil Recovery that would rise from 15 – 18 percent.

“Our own projections suggest that we could go from ten to twenty billion barrels of total resource recovered in the Bakken to as much as twenty to fifty billion barrels of resource recovered through the use of this carbon dioxide,” said EERC Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, John Harju.

Another attractive aspect of enhanced oil recovery is that the recycled C02 would stay underground, effectively making it the lowest carbon footprint oil on the planet.


North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) has pushed hard for township infrastructure funding during the 2021 legislative session, and help could be on the way.

Government Relations Director Matt Perdue said the Senate has passed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) bill, and it includes $30 million in township infrastructure funding. The money was previously discussed as part of the bonding bill but did not make it into the final package. Perdue says the OMB bill is headed for the House and will likely end up in conference committee. The OMB bill is typically one of the final bills passed by the legislature before adjournment.


Across North Dakota, farmers are in various stages of spring seeding and with market prices changing farmers are having to make some last-minute decisions on what is best for their operation.

When it comes to what farmers are planting, weather can play a huge role along with market prices.
North Dakota Farm Bureau says with all commodity prices rising, producers must continue to weigh profit opportunity with potential risk. Stone X Senior Risk Manager Mathew Snell says the market is giving North Dakota farmers the incentive to switch over to corn instead of wheat at the moment.

“Typically you see the price of wheat to corn, the spread, I’ll call it $2.25 or so, and that has gotten as low as $1.35 and is currently teetering around $1.5 dollars per bushel. What does that tell you? That says that corn has gone up exponentially more than the wheat market, and so the market is giving you some incentive to plant corn now versus wheat,” said Snell.

North Dakota Farm Bureau (NDFB) reminds that corn is more vulnerable to weather than wheat so North Dakota producers could either stand to gain or lose from uncertain weather this year. If the state drought continues, corn crop yields could be much more impacted when compared to wheat yields. Fewer corn yields could cause a shortage in supply, sparking a rise in price.

NDFB says although dry weather conditions this spring creates more risk for all crops, the rising crop prices may outweigh producer concerns as they continue to plant in 2021.

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