U.S. energy secretary asks oil industry to study carbon capture technology

WASHINGTON, Sept 25 (Reuters) - U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Monday asked an oil industry advisory council to help find ways for oil drillers to exploit technology that captures carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, by injecting the carbon dioxide into the ground to help drill for oil.

Perry, whose department has cut funding for research into ways to make carbon capture and utilization technology commercially viable, said he wants to hear from industry how to widely deploy the “exciting” technology.

“Integrating technology and deploying CCUS (carbon capture utilization and storage technology) at scale still remains a commercial challenge,” Perry said at a meeting of the National Petroleum Council, a 200-member group of industry representatives that advise the energy secretary. He spoke beside Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Perry asked the council to undertake the study as part of a broader review of the country’s oil and gas transportation infrastructure for the first time in over 15 years, which he said was in need of major investment.

CO2 pipelines would be used to move captured carbon from a coal plant to oil fields where the emissions can be pumped into the ground to extract oil.

The former Texas governor said carbon capture and utilization had “exciting potential” and asked the industry group to offer policy and R&D recommendations.

He touted the Petro Nova CCUS project in his home state, which will capture over 5,000 tons of CO2 per day for enhanced oil recovery.

President Donald Trump proposed slashing the budget of the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy, which leads CCS research, by 56 percent to $280 million for the next fiscal year. (Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by David Gregorio)