Japan Oil Development Co. has developed technology to effectively extract crude oil from oil reservoirs using carbon dioxide, company officials said Tuesday.

Carbon dioxide recovered from thermal power plants will be pressurized and infused into oil deposits, the officials said.

Crude oil deposited in the reservoirs will then be pumped out, they said.

Japan Oil Development will be the first company to use carbon dioxide in the commercial production of crude oil, the officials said.

The technology, developed jointly with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Japan National Oil Corp., will boost the rate of oil recovery from reservoirs by around 50 percent, they said.

Tokyo-based Japan Oil hopes to use the technology in the Upper Zakum oil field in the United Arab Emirates in four to five years, they said.

Natural gas is currently used to extract oil, but its low specific weight makes its infusion into deeper areas of oil reservoirs difficult.

While the oil recovery rate using natural gas equates to between 25 percent and 35 percent of total deposits, the new method will increase this rate to between 40 percent and 50 percent.

Carbon dioxide is heavier than natural gas and is similar in nature to crude oil when pressurized, enabling crude oil to be extracted relatively easily from a wider area within an oil field, the officials said.

Because the new method contains used carbon dioxide in underground oil fields, greenhouse gas emissions will be minimized, the officials said.

The technology, if applied to oil fields in the UAE, will involve the use of 15 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.

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