Interest is growing in carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) as an additional economic incentive for CO2 injection and demonstration of storage feasibility. However, given increasing societal concern over fossil fuel energy, could CO2-EOR unintentionally hinder conventional CCS by reducing support from neutral or cautiously supportive voices? This paper assesses how stakeholders and citizens respond to four scenarios for CCS with CO2-EOR in the North Sea, and draws societal implications for deployment in other mature basins. Based on focus group data from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and London, we argue that scenarios emphasising maximising oil recovery may be met with scepticism or even opposition, and that there is an expectation for national governments to lead and ensure CO2-EOR (and CCS more generally) are undertaken in the public interest. Nonetheless, our data also suggest a certain degree of pragmatism as to the embeddedness of fossil fuels in society, and thus that there may be qualified support for CCS with CO2-EOR as making best use of existing fields whilst decarbonising the power and industrial sectors. However, for this support to emerge there is an imperative for coherent and credible policy that positions CO2-EOR firmly within a managed transition towards a low-carbon economy.
- Carbon dioxide capture and storage
- CO-enhanced oil recovery
- North Sea
- Public perceptions of CCS
- Stakeholder perceptions of CCS