Assessment of CO2 fracturing in China's shale oil reservoir: Fracturing effectiveness and carbon storage potential

Wenrui Shi, Ling Zhu, Meiyu Guo*, Zisang Huang, Ganlu Wang, Lijie Lin, Li He, Yong Liao, Haoran He, Junshi Gong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Shale oil resources are abundant in China, and their large-scale development plays a critical role in the national energy strategy. Hydraulic fracturing is widely employed for shale oil extraction, but the large-scale water consumption in this process poses serious environmental concerns. In recent years, CO2 fracturing has been proposed as an alternative method to improve fracturing effectiveness, reduce water consumption, and simultaneously store CO2 underground. This is the first field-testing study in China to systematically analyze the CO2 fracturing technology and quantitatively evaluate its recovery efficiency and CO2 storage capacity in the shale oil wells in Jianghan Basin. We designed and conducted a comparative investigation of hydraulic fracturing, CO2-water fracturing, and CO2 methanol-based fracturing techniques in terms of the effectiveness of fracturing, water saving, and CO2 storage. The results showed that CO2 methanol-based fracturing was most effective in eliminating the need for freshwater consumption on site and storing CO2, with an effective CO2 storage rate as high as 82.5%, suggesting a promising direction for carbon offset in the oil and gas industry. CO2-water fracturing reduced freshwater consumption and also effectively stored CO2 at an effective storage rate of up to 79.5%, making it more efficient than hydraulic fracturing but less so than CO2 methanol-based fracturing. The research provides a valuable reference for the development and practice of waterless fracturing for shale resources, and also sheds light on the potential of carbon storage in the oil and gas industry to achieve the carbon neutrality goal of China.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107101
Number of pages12
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Early online date27 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

User-Defined Keywords

  • CO2 methanol-based fracturing
  • CO2 storage
  • CO2-water fracturing
  • Fracturing effectiveness
  • Hydraulic fracturing
  • Inter-salt shale oil


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