Chevron Australia is poised to reach a significant milestone at its Gorgon LNG facility, injecting five million tonnes of greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide equivalent, CO₂e) since safely starting the system in August 2019.
Chevron said the milestone represents the largest volume of injection achieved within this time frame by any environmental carbon capture and storage (CCS) system of comparable specifications, comparing the injection of five million tonnes of CO₂e to taking more than 1.6 million passenger vehicles off Australia’s roads for one year.
“This significant milestone shows how we’re deploying technology, innovation and skills to deliver cleaner energy and reduce our carbon footprint,” Chevron Australia managing director Mark Hatfield said.
“The Gorgon carbon capture and storage (CCS) system is the biggest CCS system designed to capture carbon emissions and is demonstrating Australia’s world-leading capability in the area.”
Once fully operational, the system will capture up to 4 million tonnes of CO₂ annually and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 100 million tonnes over the life of the injection project.
The system works by taking naturally occurring CO₂ from offshore gas reservoirs and injecting it in a giant sandstone formation two kilometres under Barrow Island, where it remains trapped.
It prevents millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases being vented into the atmosphere.
Hatfield said while the system had delivered significant reductions in Gorgon’s emissions, the time taken to safely start the system meant Chevron had not met injection requirements.
“Chevron is working with the WA regulator on making up the shortfall and will report publicly on that later in the year,” Hatfield said.
“Like any pioneering endeavour, it takes time to optimise a new system to ensure it performs reliably over 40-plus years of operation.
“The road hasn’t always been smooth, but the challenges we’ve faced – and overcome – make it easier for those who aspire to reduce their emissions through CCS.
“We’re committed to sharing the lessons we’ve learned with state and federal governments, research institutes and other energy producers to assist the deployment of CCS in Australia.
“CCS is a proven technology which experts agree is critical to achieving a lower carbon future while ensuring access to affordable and reliable energy for billions around the world who rely on it.”
APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville lauded Chevron for its achievement and the industry for “walking the walk” when it comes to carbon emissions.
“The Australian oil and gas industry is a world leader in the practical deployment of carbon capture and storage. In Australia, the oil and gas industry has been at the leading edge of researching and deploying CCS and greenhouse gas storage technologies,” Mr McConville said.
“Natural gas with CCS is a pathway to a large-scale clean hydrogen industry.
“Australia’s LNG export success means the Australian upstream oil and gas industry has the technology, expertise, commercial and trade relationships to further develop CCS and make hydrogen exports a reality.
“Chevron’s announcement is on top of all the work our industry is already doing to combat climate change. The Australian Government estimates Australia’s LNG has the potential to lower emissions in LNG importing countries by around 170 million tonnes CO₂ – each year by providing an alternative to higher emissions fuels – the equivalent of almost one-third of Australia’s total annual emissions.
“CCS shows that technology can be used to further reduce Australia’s emissions and allows our industry to keep supplying electricity generation and being used for products such as clothes, computers, phones, fertilisers and vital medical equipment such as heart valves.”