08/08/2019 - 12:05

Gorgon carbon capture online

08/08/2019 - 12:05

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The $2 billion carbon capture and storage facility at Chevron’s Gorgon LNG plant has entered operation, more than three years after first gas was shipped from Barrow Island.

Gorgon carbon capture online
Two workers at the Chevron Gorgon carbon capture facility. Photo: Chevron

The $2 billion carbon capture and storage facility at Chevron’s Gorgon LNG plant has entered operation, more than three years after first gas was shipped from Barrow Island.

Successful start up of the facility, which pumps underground excess carbon dioxide from the processing of natural gas, has bedeviled Chevron for years.

Chevron had initially planned to have carbon capture operational from the first half of 2017, with about 80 per cent of Gorgon’s total emissions to be stored underground under an agreement with the Environmental Protection Authority.

But that was delayed by technical problems, leading to pressure from environmental groups such as the Conservation Council of WA, who suggested it was intentionally being delayed.

In a statement today, Chevron said the project would reduce Gorgon’s greenhouse emissions by 40 per cent, or 100 million tonnes of carbon over the life of the injection project.

Chevron Australia managing director Al Williams said the project was one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas mitigation projects ever undertaken by industry. 

“This achievement is the result of strong collaboration across industry and governments and supports our objective of providing affordable, reliable and ever-cleaner energy essential to our modern lives,” Mr WIlliams said. 

“We are monitoring system performance and plan to safely ramp up injection volumes over the coming months as we bring online additional processing facilities.”

Chevron also said that Gorgon is anticipated to have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions intensity of any LNG project in Australia when in steady-state operations.

The federal government contributed $60 million towards the capital cost of the project through the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund.

Premier Mark McGowan said the announcement was positive news for Chevron.

"The continued success of a project of this scale and calibre will set Western Australia apart from other key gas producing jurisdictions,” Mr McGowan said.

"Congratulations to Chevron and everyone who has worked on bringing this innovative development to realisation."

Shadow environment minister Steve Thomas said the project has been decades in the making.

“It makes Australia one of the world leaders in this area,” Mr Thomas said.

“This project has persisted while Australia argued and debated climate policy, introduced a carbon tax, considered transitioning that tax into an emissions trading scheme, dumped the carbon tax, and introduced an emissions reduction fund.

“To have maintained the enthusiasm and overcome the significant technical obstacles during that period is a great credit to the joint venture partners, especially Chevron who have led the way. 

“This has been a very expensive and complicated proposal that has challenged both the proponents and regulators alike, and having it finally cross the production line must be a relief to all.

“Of course there are legislated obligations for ongoing monitoring and management, which will provide a wealth of information for the scientific and resource communities. 

“This data will no doubt have a significant impact on future sequestration discussions and decisions.”

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