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A word from the CEO

Carbon Removal

After decades of discussion attention turns to delivery – and we have a big role to play

As the global community grapples with the daunting challenge of reducing emissions rapidly, the need for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in Australia has become an issue of national importance. Despite the surge in renewable energy adoption, the world remains largely reliant on fossil fuels, a dependency that is unlikely to vanish in the near term.

Australia, as a prominent contributor to global fossil fuel supplies, bears a unique responsibility in mitigating the environmental impact of these resources. With significant upstream oil and gas operations, the potential to employ CCS on a large scale in Australia is considerable and critically important.

While the  energy mix is changing toward lower-carbon options, with fossil fuels vital for decades to come, decarbonizing the sector remains essential – and impossible without carbon capture, utilisation and storage.

This month, another European study found CCS was a cost-effective way to meet future emissions-reduction targets, including the EU’s stretch target of achieving zero emissions by 2050. And Australia’s Resources Minister has said CCS is “perhaps the single biggest opportunity for emissions reduction in the energy resources sector.”

But CCS is so far playing a limited role, making CO2CRC’s work to build capability so essential. It is pleasing to see our research and development focus receiving growing support.

A key development has been securing the funding to advance our planned Otway Stage 4 program, a multinational research program with leading researchers from Australia, United Kingdom, United States, South Korea and Japan. Chevron Australia’s $16 million investment into research infrastructure to improve CO2 storage processes in CCUS projects was augmented this month by an additional $10.2 million from three other global energy giants – BP, BHP, and ExxonMobil. The infrastructure funding will support the drilling of a new, deep well and the installation and testing of novel technologies at the Otway International Test Centre.

The funding ensures that the Otway International Test Centre continues as a critical national research infrastructure for applied research into CCS. Key partners in the program are the University of Melbourne and Stanford University, who form the backbone of our science program, opening doors to immeasurable knowledge and innovative breakthroughs and delivering a world-class science program alongside two of the most prestigious universities globally.

As recognition continues to build on the role that carbon capture and storage must play on the road to emissions reduction, we are redoubling our efforts to tell the CCS story and build broader support for the technology.

Legislation introduced into the Australian Parliament last month to enact the so-called London Protocol and allow the import and export of CO2 should be another driver of investment in Australian CCS projects.

Debate on the legislation will give industry the opportunity to contribute to this important public discussion, as will the current review of the regulatory framework for CCS.

CO2CRC will always support sensible, safe and science-based solutions to our climate challenges.

We look forward to your continued support for that important work.

Dr Matthias Raab, CEO.

Carbon Removal
Japanese visitors standing near well providing  carbon dioxide for research.

OITC a Focal Point for Japanese and Korean Visitors

Australia’s Korean and Japanese neighbours are looking towards countries like Australia for Carbon Capture and Storage partnerships to meet their emissions reduction targets. This has made CO2CRC’s Otway International Test Centre a popular destination over the past few months for delegates from Korea and Japan who are eager to see for themselves Australia’s longest running CCS project and hear about CO2CRC’s research and community engagement approach and achievements. Operations for Stage 4 are ramping up, and the green pastures and peaceful livestock grazing at the OITC give little indication of the important research activities happening below the surface. Our visitors are impressed by the OITC’s successful operational history spanning 20 years, and by the many technical and scientific breakthroughs achieved at the OITC, without significant disturbance to the surrounding farmland.

Simone De Morton3

Regulating CCS

Simone De Morton

The CCS environment in Australia is rapidly evolving, with a growing number of projects under consideration and development. These projects serve various purposes, including capture and storage for gas/LNG production, and blue hydrogen from fossil fuels. The introduction of the revised Safeguard Mechanism is expected to further accelerate the nascent CCS industry’s growth. Streamlining the regulatory pathways for CCS in Australia is therefore crucial to ensure timely delivery of these projects. However, the current regulatory process is far from efficient, with numerous overlaps, duplications, and inefficiencies that cause significant delays in approvals and lengthen the overall offshore project approvals timeframe to more than 8 years. Moreover, there is industry concern that regulatory approvals for LNG producers integrating CCS with new gas development will not happen fast enough to meet newly revised project Safeguard Mechanism compliance requirements. Ultimately, these delays may impact Australia’s ability to achieve national emissions reduction targets. It is therefore vital to reduce unnecessary barriers to CCS roll-out by addressing the long project approvals timeframe and inherent inefficiencies within the regulatory process, while also ensuring regulatory veracity.

Simone De Morton is a CO2CRC CCS regulatory specialist and a member of CO2CRC’s Regulatory Affairs Task force working to address these issues along with David Byers, Dr Geoffery O’Brien, Justin Thompson, and David Bason. CO2CRC through its subsidiary CO2Tech is currently working with several companies across Australia to smooth their regulatory pathway to CCS.

CO2CRC CCUS Symposium  – Super Early Bird Tickets Available Now

CO2CRC‘s Symposium is Australia’s leading Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage event. With a host of local and international expert speakers including carbon management specialist Dr Sallie Greenberg. Held at Torquay Victoria from November 20-23 the CO2CRC CCUS Symposium is the ultimate destination to reach a sophisticated niche energy audience and network with leading speakers from industry, government, and research. Contact Justin Thompson today to discuss sponsorship opportunities.

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Energy Transition News

31/07/23 Bowen’s plan A is a shambles, it’s time to consider a plan B – The Australian. The common factor binding the members of the Climate Club is the loftiness of their ambitions rather than their practical progression towards achieving them.

31/07/23 Carbon capture project will help ensure just transition – Scottish Government – Independent UK Edition A carbon capture project in the north east of Scotland will help to ensure a just transition to a greener economy, the Scottish Government has said. Environment Minister Neil Gray said he looked forward to a “much anticipated” update from the Prime Minister, amid reports Rishi Sunak will announce funding for the Acorn project in Aberdeenshire during a visit on Monday.

25/07/23 Canada releases framework to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies – Reuters. Canada on Monday released a framework for eliminating inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, making it the first G20 country to deliver on a 2009 commitment to rationalise and phase out government support for the sector.

28/07/23 Rio signals the reality of net zero -The Australian Giant Rio Tinto has fired the first warning shot over the future of heavy industry in Australia following the introduction of the Albanese government’s revised safeguard mechanism that will force big companies to progressively reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by law.

24/07/23 Engineering the world’s largest post-combustion CCS plant – Carbon Economist As part of the UK’s Humber Zero initiative, CCS plants will be retrofitted to a combined-cycle natural gas power plant adjacent to the Humber oil refinery.

18/07/23 Can Europe Be Carbon Neutral Through Sequestration? – IEEE Spectrum A new study suggests a massive scale-up of the tech would be needed.

12/07/23 Gas peaking plants, carbon capture and big spending on renewables needed, says report – The Australian. Australia must find $1.5 trillion by the end of the decade to meet 2050 green targets in an effort experts say would need to mirror the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.

10/07/23 Smaller players should face tougher emission caps: Carbon Markets Institute – AFR. Tougher emission caps should be imposed by the Albanese government on smaller manufacturers and across industries such as aviation and long-haul transport, the carbon markets lobby says.

05/07/23 How the oil-rich North Sea might help solve the climate problem – AFR. 200 kilometres west of Denmark, a consortium of 23 businesses and research agencies is trying to spearhead that revolution: they want to use those very oil and gas fields to bury carbon dioxide, rather than produce more.

05/07/23 Labor’s mixed carbon storage messages – AFR. Japan warns that Labor’s emissions cutting policy and lack of support for CCS could force Australia’s most important LNG customer and partner to look north to Alaska to make up the Russian shortfall.


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