Carbon storage a reality: study

MORE than two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from the Latrobe Valley could be stored in the depleted oil and gas fields of the Gippsland Basin, off the coast of south-eastern Victoria, according to new research.
Carbon storage a reality: study Carbon storage a reality: study Carbon storage a reality: study Carbon storage a reality: study Carbon storage a reality: study

A simplified view of the steps involved in geosequestration.

Francine Pennington

The study, undertaken by the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC), found that geological storage, or geosequestration, was a potential option to safely secure the long-term economic future of the Latrobe Valley – one of Australia's major industrial centres.

Carbon dioxide geosequestration includes the capture, transport, injection and storage of the gas into deep geological formations.

CO2CRC program manager Barry Hooper said this was the first time an Australian study had looked at storing commercial-scale quantities of carbon dioxide from a large industry hub.

"The Latrobe Valley study, which was conducted by top researchers from CO2CRC, is believed to be the largest and most comprehensive-regional technical and economic study of carbon dioxide geological storage in the world," Hooper said.

"Our research also shows that the Gippsland Basin has the potential to store vast quantities of carbon dioxide at rates 50 times greater than the world's current largest storage project in the North Sea near Norway, which currently stores about one million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year."

Geological formations into which carbon dioxide can be safely injected include depleted oil and natural gas fields, similar to those found in the Gippsland Basin, which have stored the oil and natural gas for millions of years, the study said.

"The existing oil and gas fields could store more than two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide once depleted. In fact, the researchers found that the use of innovative storage techniques would mean that even larger quantities of carbon dioxide could be stored safely deep below the oil and gas fields," Hooper said.

"Geosequestration can play a major part in achieving deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions."

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