A Deadly Gas
Carbon dioxide has long been used to euthanize laboratory rodents and other small animals, a practice animal welfare organizations now consider inhumane due to the suffering the gas inflicts on the animals. Each year, CO2 accidents kill about 100 workers worldwide — often in basements of restaurants that use CO2-charged systems for their bar mixers — or in industrial accidents.
Carbon dioxide is an asphyxiant that displaces ambient oxygen, making it more difficult to breathe. Smaller exposures cause coughing, dizziness and a panicky feeling called “air hunger.” As CO2 concentrations get higher and exposure times longer, the gas causes a range of effects from unconsciousness to coma to death. Even at lower levels, CO2 can act as an intoxicant, impairing cognitive performance and inducing a confused, drunken-like state.
Denbury’s entire business is built around piping carbon dioxide to oilfields and a few industrial users in two operational centers in the Gulf Coast and the Rockies. It owns or has an interest in 14 oil fields in Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana, which are connected by five CO2 pipelines spanning 925 miles. Among its properties is Tinsley Field, adjacent to Satartia, which became Mississippi’s first commercially successful oil field in 1939.