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Bell Creek Project Fact Sheet: Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Project

Company/Alliance: PCOR, Denbury

Location: Bell Creek Oil field, Powder River Basin, Montana, USA

Start: May 2013

Size: 1 Mt/yr

CO2 Source: Lost Cabin Gas Plant in Wyoming

CO2 Fate: EOR at Bell Creek oil field, Montana


Total project cost $94 million. DOE share $69 million
(PCOR Project costs for Bell Creek and Fort Nelson project $123 million DOE share $79)

This project was awarded the DOE Regional partnership large-scale demonstration, Phase 3 funding. The project will also produce approximately 35 million barrels of incremental oil using CO2-EOR.


CO2 injection is expected to start in 2013 after the pipeline is completed which is scheduled for December 2012. The pipeline is 232 miles (370km) long from the Lost Cabin gas- processing facility in Central Wyoming to the Bell Creek oil field.

As of August 2015, over 2,301,000 cumulative metric tons were stored, thereby surpassing a major RCSP Phase III metric of injection of 1 million metric tons of CO2 per project.

The CO2 will be injected into the Oil bearing rock of the Muddy Formation Sandstones of early Cretaceous age. The sandstones are 20 to 30 feet thick and are overlain by organic rich marine shale which makes a good seal.

The Lost Cabin Gas processing plant was first commissioned in 1995. The construction of the CO2 capture facilities started in 2011 and CO2 capture and injection is expected to start in early 2013.

Since its 1967 discovery,the Bell Creek oil field has produced approximately 133 million barrels of oil. Most of that oil was produced by injecting water into the oil-bearing zone to push oil to production wells. By 2010, about 38% of the oil was produced and production was dwindling. In 2010, Denbury acquired the Bell Creek Field with the intention of rejuvenating the once robust field by switching from water injection to CO2 injection. Bell Creek is an optimal site for CO2 EOR because experience has shown successful primary and secondary oil recovery using water. It is at a depth of 4500ft which results in temperature and pressure conditions that will maintain the CO2 in a super critical state and allow for miscibility 0f the CO2 in the oil. The second reason is Bell Creek's high permeability at 900 millidarcies and its porosity which averages at 24%. This allows for high CO2 injection rates and a fairly rapid production response. Even more oil recovery is expected using CO2, yielding an additional 35 million barrels of incremental oil. The rock layers in the field are also ideally suited for carbon storage following the oil recovery process.

Project Link: Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership- Development Phase-Large Scale Field tests [PDF]

Other Sources and Press Releases:
PCOR website
Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership— Development Phase Large-Scale Field Projects (November 2015)
CO2 Emissions Go to Work to Produce More Oil [PDF] (February 2015)
Integrating CO2 EOR and CO2 Storage in the Bell Creek Oil Field (2012)
Denbury to Invest Billions in CO2 Oil Recovery in Montana (April 2012)
CO2 pipeline planned for Montana, Wyoming oil production (July 2011)