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BP drawn to landfill

BP has purchased the carbon rights to a licensed landfill project in South Cardup in a deal brokered by the Commonwealth Bank.

Methane gas from the West Australian Landfill Services project will be used to generate electricity.

WALS supervisor Brad Smith said gas wells would be installed soon and the project would be up and running before the end of the year.

Neither BP nor WALS could value the rights contract.

BP Australia fuel products and pricing manager Mike McGuinness said the company had commissioned the Commonwealth Bank to look for suitable carbon credit-based projects.

Mr McGuinness said such projects were not to be confused with the company’s internal trading scheme.

“This is for customers of BP Ultimate fuel, to invest on their behalf in greenhouse gas reduction projects,” he said.

The Global Choice customer scheme was introduced to fully offset fuel emissions for customers, Mr McGuinness said.

“The more they buy (BP Ultimate), the more we spend on these projects,” he said.

BP is buying into greenhouse gas reduction projects throughout the world, in anticipation of a global credit trading scheme.

While some argue over how to monitor the storage of carbon and others wait for legislation on ownership rights, the company is into its second year of global company emissions trading.

BP wants company divisions to achieve a 10 per cent reduction on 1998 emissions by 2010, but has set intermediate targets described by Kwinana refinery utilities and energies manager Claude Quinones as tough.

But whenever a BP division achieves an emissions level lower than an intermediary target, the division accumulates emissions credits it can onsell to other divisions having difficulty meeting targets.

BP’s Kwinana refinery appears not to be disgracing itself in the scheme.

Apart from installing more efficient pumps and furnace equipment to lower carbon dioxide emissions and reduce energy use, the refinery also produces fuel with reduced benzene, sulphur and olefins content.

To further offset its carbon emissions, the refinery has joined a tree planting venture with the Forest Products Commission.

“We’re actually doing pretty well and will be in a position to sell credits next year,” Mr Quinones said.

“But the projects are not an excuse to go on polluting. We only take on projects with no social disadvantage to the local community and an environmental benefit such as decreasing salinity.”

In addition to selling its credits, worth up to US$16 per tonne of carbon dioxide to other BP divisions, it also will act as a project broker, earning management fees from encouraging divisions to become involved in the tree program.

Mr Quinones admitted the trading scheme used considerable administrative resources, but said the scheme had met enthusiastic acceptance by WA management from the time it was first passed down from BP’s London headquarters.

“BP is doing this to get ahead of the game. We want to see how this is going to work in the future. We’re being pro-active, setting up rules to see if they’ll work and learning a lot about carbon trading,” he said.

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