06/08/2008 - 22:00

Geosequestration plan for Gorgon

06/08/2008 - 22:00

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Developers of the Gorgon gas project are looking to invest almost $1 billion on carbon capture and storage, which could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 40 per cent.

Geosequestration plan for Gorgon

Developers of the Gorgon gas project are looking to invest almost $1 billion on carbon capture and storage, which could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 40 per cent.

If successful, the Gorgon carbon capture and storage (CCS) project would reduce CO2 emissions from 9.5 million tonnes per year to 3.5mt per year, and make it the largest CO2 sequestration project in the world.

More than $100 million has been spent on the project to date.

Chevron Australia's senior adviser for climate change policy, John Torkington, said CCS was a more effective and less expensive way of abating the project's emissions compared with other options.

The project has undergone a series of technical appraisals to test the viability of the reservoir for CO2 injection and storage since 2003.

"We're confident we've got a good location that's got a high degree of containment certainty," Mr Torkington said.

The Gorgon project, valued in the tens of billions of dollars, will produce 15mt of LNG a year when fully operational.

While CO2 geosequestration isn't yet a commercialised technology, the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies has a number of demonstration and pilot projects in operation nationally.

The biggest is Victoria's Otway Project, the world's largest demonstration project, which to date has injected 10,000t of CO2 in a depleted natural gas reservoir about two kilometres underground.

Aspiring energy player Aviva Corporation Ltd is also assessing the viability of capturing the CO2 emissions from its Coolimba power project and burying them underground in depleted oil and gas reservoirs in the North Perth Basin.

Aviva general manager Richard Harris said if all went to plan, the $1 billion 400-megawatt coal-fired power station near Eneabba would be built 'carbon capture ready'.

"Power station developments have to do things differently. We've taken the decision that this project has to fit into the new regulation, whatever it is," he said.

Mr Harris said the plant could capture up to 90 per cent of its emissions, equating to roughly 3mt of CO2 each year for up to 30 years.

The company has partnered with oil and gas producer ARC Energy Ltd to undertake the geosequestration study.

Investigations into CO2 geosequestration in WA appear to have been undeterred by the recent withdrawal of BP and Rio Tinto, who shelved their proposed $2 billion clean coal project in Kwinana after finding the geosequestration site was unviable for CO2 storage.

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