A word from the CEO
Pivot to pragmatism turns tide toward CCS
For some time, the energy and climate debates around the world have been dominated by ideological and inflexible positions from those advocating more action, less or sometimes none at all.
Pleasingly, in recent months we may be seeing the beginnings of a pivot to pragmatism.
In speeches to the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia Energy Transition Summit in Perth this month, both Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen and Resources Minister Madeleine King highlighted the role of natural gas in underpinning the transition.
Mr Bowen said gas was “a flexible fuel necessary for peaking and firming as we undertake this transformation.”
And last week, a new International Energy Agency confirmed oil and gas investments will still be needed for the world to hit net zero emissions goals and ensure global energy security. The report marked an apparent shift from the IEA’s 2021 declaration that no new oil or gas fields could be developed if the world was to reach net-zero by 2050.
This makes decarbonising our continued use of gas and removing emissions from industrial processes even more important – and that requires CCS.
There is no doubt action must be taken to curb carbon emissions and limit their climate impact. And there is increasing awareness that meeting these challenges will require use of all tools available.
And to make a difference now, we must use tools that are available now.
This was a recurring theme at last week’s CO2CRC CCUS Symposium 2023 at the RACV Torquay Resort, Victoria.
As we noted, the two years since the last Symposium have seen significant changes – both in the political and regulatory environment in which we operate and as a result of the technological and commercial advances carbon capture, utilisation and storage has made over that time.
CO2CRC has tried to encourage this process, working constructively with government at all levels and at times making public comment where we saw signs policy formation was slowing.
Our Regulatory Affairs Taskforce formed in February, has achieved a lot in a short time.
It is pleasing to see collaboration with government identifying areas where the regulatory processes under which projects are assessed and delivered, can be both more effective and more efficient.
As these regulatory processes are clarified, industry can and must move to focus on project delivery.
As we have said previously there are a number of high potential CCS projects that could be delivered by 2030 – reducing Australia’s emissions by 8%.
Another key theme at the Symposium was engaging with the broader community on the importance of CCS and addressing the questions and concerns that many still hold.
False claims that ignore the track record of CCS around the world do nothing to inform that public debate.
We need to move public discussion beyond already settled questions over whether CCS works.
As US regulatory and stakeholder engagement expert Dr Sallie Greenberg told us last week: “We have the technology, and we know how to use it.”
But our own confidence means little if it is not shared with communities.
CO2CRC remains committed to working with industry and government to facilitate continued supportive policies, and build a wider coalition of engaged stakeholders to drive progress.
We again thank all those who participated in the Symposium. It was stimulating, with the program including a wide range of speakers and session topics from international speakers giving global perspectives on CCS (US, APAC, Middle East) to the views of local leaders – and occurring on the 20th anniversary of CO2CRC’s founding, gave us the opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the last two decades and share perspectives on the years ahead.
We can fully expect the two years before our next Symposium will be exciting ones for our sector.
Dr Matthias Raab, CEO.
Modelling the Behaviour of Carbon Dioxide Stored Near Faults
CO2CRC’s Shallow Fault Project aims to investigate the movement of 1- 20 tonnes of CO2 along and/or through the fault plane in the Port Campbell limestone reservoir. It is a part of CO2CRC’s stage four project conducted at the Otway International Test Centre and undertaken in conjunction with Geoscience Australia, RITE, Curtin University and the CSIRO to increase the understanding of stored carbon dioxide when it is injected adjacent to subsurface faults.
Significant efforts were dedicated to modelling the likely behaviour of the CO2 plume around Brumby’s fault. In preparation for the injection phase in Q1 of 2024, a water pump test was completed to understand the injectivity of the injection well (Brumbys-3), pressure and hydraulic communication between the wells and to update the reservoir model with the collected data.
The pump test, completed in August 2023, provides valuable data on reservoir performance and injectivity. The water injection adopted variable rates where pressure analysis techniques are employed to evaluate the suitability of the reservoir for CO2 injection. The results indicate that the injection well, Brumbys-3, exhibits suitable injectivity, suggesting its potential for successful CO2 injection.
As part of the study, CO2CRC updated the previous understanding of the reservoir by integrating data from the pump test, pressure analysis, and monitoring well into the reservoir model. This model aids in predicting the behaviour of the injected CO2 and assessing its potential implications.
At this stage, the major influence on how the CO2 behaves in the Port Campbell Limestone and how far it moves up the fault is expected to be its solubility into the aquifer. Distributed strain sensing and monitoring using pressure gauges will be used in conjunction with reverse vertical seismic profiling and surface gas detectors to monitor the stored gas.
Data collected from this experiment will be used to inform carbon dioxide storage modelling and to test strain sensing technology.
Genna Petho is a Reservoir Engineer and provides services both to CO2CRC Ltd and CO2Tech, supporting research projects in Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) at the Otway International Test Centre (OITC), and upcoming CCS projects across Australia. Her work includes storage site evaluations, simulations studies, risk assessments and monitoring and verification planning.
Thank you for attending the CO2CRC Symposium 2023
I’d like to thank again all members and attendees who helped make last week’s CO2CRC CCUS Symposium 2023 at the RACV Torquay Resort in Victoria such a success.
There was an overwhelmingly positive response from over 150 attendees regarding the scientific program, CCS educational course for policymakers and regulators, and the exceptional networking opportunity.
We particularly thank our major sponsors in LETA and CarbonNet for their continuing support, Silixa for sponsoring the Welcome Drinks and INPEX for sponsoring the Gala Awards Dinner.
It was a stimulating three days, with the program including a wide range of speakers and session topics from international speakers giving global perspectives on CCS (US, APAC, Middle East) to the views of local leaders – and occurring on the 20th anniversary of CO2CRC’s founding it allowed us to reflect on the achievements of the last two decades and share perspectives on the years ahead.
As we noted, the two years since the last Symposium have seen significant changes – both in the political and regulatory environment in which we operate and due to the technological and commercial advances carbon capture, utilisation and storage have made over that time.
CO2CRC remains committed to working with industry and government to facilitate continued supportive policies and build a broader coalition of engaged stakeholders to drive progress.
We can fully expect the two years before our next Symposium to be exciting for our sector and our efforts to drive meaningful emissions reduction.
You will also find the electronic copy of our latest annual report on our website.
Again, thank you.
Dr Matthias Raab – CEO
Chairman Martin Ferguson’s Address to CO2CRC Symposium
A lot has changed since we last met two years ago.
Australia has changed its federal government and with it seen a significant shift in virtually all its policies in relation to energy and climate.
The energy and emissions challenges facing our trading partners in Asia have become starker.
The global political map is significantly altered. War in Ukraine, tensions in the Middle East and some strains in our relations with Asia’s largest economy and political power, China.
And though it is rarely said out loud, there is a growing acceptance around the world that mid-century climate targets cannot be met – at least not without a pivot to pragmatism over loose ideological ambition and empty promises.
As I’ll expand on this later, but that pragmatism must and will involve a much firmer embrace of carbon capture and storage.
2023 has been another critical year for CO2CRC. We made significant progress in implementing organisational reform and meeting the challenges of a rapidly-evolving external environment.
And looking forward, we have a big year ahead in 2024, which includes;
- Our Stage 4 drilling program which began yesterday and the installation of new research infrastructure
- The shallow fault experiment at the OITC with our partners from RITE, GA, CSIRO, Curtin University
- A continued focus on working constructively with governments on accelerating the time to project permitting.
- Exciting advancements with our capture and utilization technologies, and lots of support for our training courses and the regulatory taskforce,
Changes to the constitution and our membership framework
We reached a pivotal juncture, marking two decades of progress with a landmark revision of CO2CRC’s constitution and membership framework to better serve the needs of our organisation and its members.
We’ve broadened our objectives to mirror the diverse and evolving landscape of our operations and stakeholder interests.
These transformative changes streamline our processes, reinforce our community, and prepare CO2CRC to adeptly navigate the future of energy and emissions reduction.
We welcomed the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) and Beach Energy as new members.
We have deepened our international collaboration.
In our collective pursuit of ambitious 2030 emission reduction targets, Australia, together with Japan and Korea, recognises the pivotal role of CCUS in mitigating industrial and resource sector emissions across all the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s three scopes.
Our collaboration has led to a funding commitment from Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen to the advancement of offshore CO2 monitoring techniques and the successful execution of field trials at CO2CRC’s Otway International Test Centre, which serves as a benchmark for innovation in the industry.
Furthermore, and particularly with the Australian Parliament’s endorsement of the London Protocol last week, we are supporting the shipment of CO2 through transboundary CCS projects that will enable our trading partners in the region to reduce their emissions along Australia’s resources industry’s value chain.
Our collaborative multinational research program draws on expertise from across the globe, including eminent researchers from Australia, the UK, the US, South Korea, and Japan, to drive commercially relevant trials and technological advancements in CCS at reduced costs.
This program also supports pioneering technologies like Direct Air Capture (DAC), targeting the capture and storage of over 4.8 billion tonnes of CO2 per annum post-2050.
The research’s backbone is forged through partnerships with prestigious institutions like the University of Melbourne and Stanford University, alongside experts from Curtin University, KIGAM, and RITE, making major advances in science and innovation within the global CCS domain.
The CCS Regulatory Affairs Taskforce, initiated in February 2023 following recommendations from our Program Advisory Committee, has effectively united CO2CRC member companies to streamline the CCS regulatory approvals process and enhance engagement with government bodies.
Engaging in ongoing consultations with the government, the task force and CO2CRC members are actively shaping policy reviews to ensure they meet the offshore CCS project’s needs.
Australia has a golden opportunity for global CCS leadership, but we will squander it without regulatory reform.
CCS projects are advancing in the US, the UK, Korea, Canada, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, etc, but Australia’s potential is so significant that our contribution should easily surpass those nations.
To fulfill that potential, we need to roll out multiple CCS projects with large-scale storage around and across Australia – and this needs to be done quickly to meet emissions reduction targets.
The current project approval cycle takes up to nine years due to cumbersome regulatory processes.
So legislated targets are at odds with the industry’s ability to get project approvals.
To achieve our emission reduction target of 43% below 2005 levels by 2030, we will need 50% reduction in permitting time. Delays are deadly – a lack of urgency will deter investment and entrench the status quo in emissions.
If these issues aren’t addressed, investments will shift to more supportive countries, hampering Australia’s decarbonisation progress.
With the International Energy Agency highlighting that global 2050 climate goals are unattainable without CCS, and a slower-than-needed roll-out of renewables in most major economies, the emphasis on delivering new CCS projects is increasing.
This is especially true in the US where the Inflation Reduction Act 2022 has significantly increased subsidies for CO2 capture. In Britain, Prime Minister Sunak has announced a big expansion of carbon capture and storage as part of his “proportionate and pragmatic” approach to tackling climate change – and still achieving a net zero economy by 2050.
Industry accepts environmental approval processes must be robust, but to deliver CCS at scale, we need a faster, more efficient approach to regulatory approvals.
Australia already has the world’s largest carbon storage project at Chevron’s Gorgon facility in Western Australia, with Santos having taken a final investment decision to develop the Moomba CCS project in South Australia. Another 17 projects are in feasibility.
We believe four of those projects have high potential: the SEA CCS and CarbonNet projects offshore Victoria and the Bonaparte and Bayu-Undan projects of offshore NT.
If all were delivered by 2032, along with Gorgon and Moomba, between 31 and 35 million tonnes of CO2 a year could be stored – reducing Australia’s emissions by 8% – but that’s an optimistic target given current approval timelines.
Our advocacy and outreach will continue to seek to build awareness and support for CCUS.
Alongside renewables and increasing investment in hydrogen and batteries, CCUS can make Australia a world leader in decarbonisation technologies and innovation.
CO2CRC will continue our drive to advance the technology, lead in innovation and development, and highlight its vital role in supporting an orderly transition to a low-emissions future.
We look forward to continuing those efforts in 2024 and thank our members and stakeholders for their ongoing support.
Symposium Photo Gallery 2023
Peruse Symposium photos from the Welcome Drinks on Monday 20th and Day 1 Plenary on Tuesday 21st November. More photos to be published next week.
Thankyou to our 2023 CO2CRC CCUS Symposium Sponsors
Follow CO2CRC today on LINKEDIN to keep up to date with the latest news on our ground-breaking demonstration and research projects.
Advanced CO2 Storage Course
CO2CRC is Australia’s leading research organisation in Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS). Designed for CO2 storage site project managers, senior geologists and engineers and delivered by CO2CRC’s world-class experts, this course focuses on building a high-performance CO2 storage site development team and enhancing individual subsurface storage skills.
At CO2CRC, effective education is the key to achieving a sustainable and low-carbon future. We are committed to empowering industry experts, policymakers, investors, bankers, super funds managers, scientists, and the general public, with the knowledge and tools needed to drive positive change.
Advance Storage Course takes place on the March 12 – 14 2023 and includes a visit to our Otway International Test Centre contact Max Watson for more information on 0420 209 277.
Drilling at Otway International Test Centre
Operations are in full swing at the Otway International Test Centre this week with a Schlumberger Rig managed by InGauge currently drilling the surface hole of CRC-8. Drilling is currently at approximately 930m below the surface, with the completed deviated well to be over 1720m deep to access the saline Paaratte formation. The new monitoring well will be integral in Stage 4 research, where CO2CRC is working with Stanford and Melbourne Universities, KCCUS from Korea and RITE from Japan to determine ways to better utilise global subsurface carbon dioxide storage resources.
Energy Transition News
25/11/23 Meeting emission reduction targets through CCS – Offshore Network. At the recently concluded Offshore Well Intervention Australia 2023 conference held in Perth, a panel of industry experts convened to explore the outlook for the CCS market in Australia.
24/11/2023 Carbon capture and storage hopes are pipe dreams, for now – Reuters. The International Energy Agency (IEA) delivered a dose of reality on whether CCUS can be deployed at sufficient scale and with viable economics in its latest report, released on Thursday.
23/11/2023 Opponents demand Glencore abandon Great Artesian Basin carbon storage plan – ABC. Environmentalists and farmers are hardening their resolve against a proposal to inject liquefied carbon dioxide into Australia’s biggest underground fresh water reservoir.
23/11/2023 Fossil fuel spending needed to hit net zero, says International Energy Agency – The Australian. New oil and gas investments will still be needed for the world to hit net zero emissions goals, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has conceded, with the fossil fuels required to ensure global energy security.
22/11/2023 Petronas, Japanese Partners To Launch Offshore CCS Project In Malaysia by 2028 – Carbon Herald. A carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiative offshore Malaysia is set to launch by the end of 2028, as per a recently signed key principles agreement (KPA) between Petronas CCS Ventures (PCCSV), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia’s national energy group Petronas, and three Japanese companies.
20/11/2023 Carbon-dioxide-removal options are multiplying – The Economist. Many are intriguing; none is cheap, scalable and easily verified.
20/11/2023 White House backs swathe of carbon capture projects – Partnerships Bulletin. The Biden-Harris administration has announced $444m in project grants to support carbon capture projects.The funding will support conducting feasibility studies for nine projects and facilitating permitting and site characterization in a further seven.
20/11/2023 ExxonMobil Plans to Build Refinery, CCS Facility in Indonesia: Jokowi – Rigzone. Exxon Mobil Corp. is planning to invest up to $15 billion into Indonesia in the form of a refinery and a carbon capture project, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said
17/11/2023 Premier says WA ‘the ideal place’ to store world’s emissions – AFR. West Australian Premier Roger Cook says his state is the ideal place to store much of the world’s carbon emissions, and must capitalise on its natural advantages to become a global carbon storage hub.
16/11/2023 Industry push to make Australia north Asia’s ‘carbon sink’ – AFR. Shiploads of carbon captured from the burning of gas could be stored in Australia if an industry plan to help it become one of Asia’s main carbon sinks is realised.
15/11/2023 Asia Pacific Poised for Significant Growth in CCS/CCUS Technologies – Journal of Petroleum Technology. Paving the way for collaboration, the fourth edition of the SPE Symposium on CCUS management witnessed groundbreaking discussions on innovative strategies and initiatives that accelerate the deployment of CCS and CCUS projects in the region.
14/11/2023 Sea dumping legislation paves way for Santos’s carbon capture and storage project – ABC. The federal government’s Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment (Using New Technologies to Fight Climate Change) Bill has passed the Senate with the support of the Coalition
13/11/2023 The Race Is On: 5 Steps To Rapidly Develop Carbon Removal Technology – Forbes. Taking a first-principles thinking approach is critical to speed up the development of this nascent industry. Inspired by the 5-step design process for scaling technology used by Tesla and SpaceX, here are five steps that engineers and technology developers can take when building CDR technologies.
12/11/2023 Rise of carbon removal and role of government – The Korea Times. This year, the government increased its 2030 national reduction target through CCUS, from 10.3 million tons to 11.2 million tons.
10/11/2023 Oman Considers Carbon Capture Projects To Reduce CO2 Emissions – Carbon Herald. To mitigate CO2 emissions resulting from major industrial projects and boost its decarbonization efforts, Oman is focusing on the development of the carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) field in the country.
10/11/2023 Pilot forms key alliance with Samsung on CCS and ammonia export – The Australian. In a significant development on the clean energy frontier, Pilot Energy and Samsung C&T Corporation Engineering & Construction Group have joined forces through a non-binding MoU to spearhead the Mid West Clean Energy Project (MWCEP) in Western Australia
10/11/2023 Santos and Beach Energy explore expansion of carbon capture and storage – The Australian. Santos and Beach Energy have secured a licence to investigate the prospect of storing more carbon dioxide in South Australia, as the duo plot expanding its presence in the controversial practice of storing emissions to meet soaring global demand.
09/11/2023 Occidental CEO sees potential to license 1,000 carbon capture plants – Reuters. Occidental Petroleum (OXY.N) wants to sell technology licenses to enable partners to build plants that take carbon out of air, Chief Executive Vicki Hollub said on Wednesday, a day after winning investment for its first large scale plant
08/11/2023 Fossil fuel industry to expand for decades despite global carbon pledges, UN report finds – ABC. Governments around the world, including Australia’s, are planning to expand the fossil fuel industry to about twice what would be consistent with their pledge to try to stop warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, a United Nations report has found.
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