The following is an excerpt from an article by Murray Griffin printed in Footprint News on Friday 18 October 2019. 

Enhanced oil recovery suited to earning carbon credits, says CO2CRC

Injecting CO2 into oil fields to boost production is a legitimate form of sequestration and should be regarded as an appropriate way to earn carbon credits, according to the country’s leading CCS research organisation.

CO2CRC chief operating officer Dr Matthias Raab said research showed that injecting CO2 into oil fields to force out more oil would still result in “net negative emissions”, even when emissions from the combustion of the oil are taken into account.

Opportunities for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) could include central Australia’s Cooper Basin, and the Bonaparte Basin, he added.

Raab said the combination of sequestration-only and EOR projects had the potential to deliver millions of tonnes of abatement annually.

However, the absence of any incentive is hindering deployment of the technology, he said.

Raab noted that the US provides a tax incentive of US$50 for every tonne of carbon stored in a sequestration-only project, and US$35 per tonne for EOR projects.

Australia already allows carbon credits to be earned from biosequestration, and it makes sense to take a “technology neutral” approach and allow them to be created by storing CO2 deep underground, he said.

Raab added that CO2CRC had discussed with the Department of Environment and Energy the merits of credits being earned from geosequestration.

Within the next several years Australia could be hosting two of the world’s largest sequestration projects – Chevron’s Gorgon project and Victoria’s CarbonNet.