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Australia’s LNG industry is making a dangerous bet on carbon recovery: Russell

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Brisbane — Australia’s vast liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector is betting on carbon capture and storage (CCS), an essential and proven technology for decarbonization.

In particular, it’s hard to convince everyone else, as so far the only large-scale project of this kind hasn’t been so successful.

At this week’s meeting of the Australian Petroleum Production Exploration Association, decarbonization and reaching net zero emissions by 2050 were the main themes of this year’s gathering of companies making Australia the world’s largest LNG exporter. ..

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The CCS has a low public image, largely because it is considered unfulfilled, and believes that eliminating the use of fossil fuels can be a better solution for environmental and renewable energy advocates. An expensive solution to the problem.

Many of the perceived failures are due to the inability of CCS to remove carbon when fossil fuels burn, especially in coal-fired power generation.

For several years, the coal mining industry and lobby have touted CCS as a solution that enables long-term operation.

That promise has not been fulfilled, and it will be very difficult to find serious energy industry players and analysts looking to the future of CCS in coal-fired power plants.

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However, Australia’s LNG industry, which competes with Qatar and increasingly makes the United States the world’s largest exporter, sees CCS as a viable path to carbonization in its upstream sector.

The plan is simple and the scope is vast.

LNG producers dramatically reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by capturing the carbon emissions produced by the extraction and liquefaction process and injecting them into depleted natural gas and oil reservoirs. ..

Proponents of the industry using CCS have repeatedly called this process a “proven technology” and are ready to deploy it on a scale sufficient to make a difference in global emissions.

It’s true that there are several CCS projects in upstream oil and gas ventures, but please Yuri to say that this is a technology ready for large-scale deployment at an economically meaningful price. I am.

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Many consist of the world’s largest CCS project at the Gorgon LNG plant operated by Chevron, Western Australia.

The project aims to recover and store 4 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year, but it went live just slightly better than half of 2021 and stored about 2.1 million tonnes.

Chevron’s credit is that in an industry that has a harsh reputation for problems, the company is aware of Gorgon’s problems and is effectively on a steep learning curve, aiming to reach its goals.


The point of Chevron’s struggle in Gorgon is not to prove that CCS in upstream oil and gas projects is infeasible, but to have technical challenges that make it difficult. scale.

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Another major CCS project in Australia is being carried out by Santos, Australia’s second largest oil and gas producer. The project is building 1.7 million tonnes of CCS annually at Moomba, a remote gas hub in the country.

Kevin Gallagher, CEO of Santos, said the CCS needs to store about 7.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year under the Net Zero channel of the International Energy Agency, an amount currently achieved. He told the APPEA event that it was an astonishing amount of 200 times that of.

It clearly shows the scale of the challenge, but it also raises questions about the cost of achieving this goal.

In effect, the LNG industry needs to be able to generate carbon credits to justify CCS investment.

This can be seen as a wise way to allow fossil fuels to continue to exist in a carbon-constrained world, or just another distribution from taxpayers to the fossil fuel industry.

But perhaps the main challenge for Australian LNG producers is to overcome the hurdles of public skepticism about CCS, both its cost and effectiveness.

To do so, the industry needs to demonstrate that it can deploy technology on a large scale and quickly without escaping taxpayers and truly contribute to the Net Zero goal.

While operating CCS at the heart of social licensing is a major risk to the Australian LNG industry, it also seems to be largely in their own hands to make it work.

(Edited by Christian Schmollinger)


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Australia’s LNG industry is making a dangerous bet on carbon recovery: Russell

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