The Northern Territory Government in partnership with the CSIRO, industry and engineering companies are collaborating to fast-track emissions reduction across Northern Australia's gas and gas-leveraged industries.
Carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) is an important emissions reduction technology. It's recognised as critical component in the global climate change action mix to achieve net-zero emissions targets, highlighted by the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
INPEX, Santos, Eni, Woodside, Xodus Group and Origin Energy, alongside the Territory Government and CSIRO are working to develop a joint business case assessing the viability of a large-scale CCUS hub.
A CCUS hub would mitigate carbon emissions from current and future natural gas processing and accelerate low-emission industry development, including clean hydrogen production. Decarbonisation technologies are an essential component to commercialising sustainable industry growth.
In 2022, The Australian Government committed $300m to accelerate development of a carbon capture and storage hub to realise low emissions manufacturing and clean hydrogen production within the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct.
The feasibility of a Darwin based CCUS hub and an action plan to accelerate development was completed as part of the Carbon Capture and Storage Hub Study completed in November 2020 by the Global CCS Institute assessed.
The Northern Territory Low Emission Hub Business Case project, established on 26 October 2021, is accelerating efforts to reduce emissions in Northern Australia and accelerate the creation of low-emission advanced manufacturing industries.
Project partners, including the CSIRO, industry and engineering companies, are developing a business case that will apply best practice learnings from international low emission industrial hub projects and techno-economic models to map development pathways and highlight investment opportunities.
The project will also consider all technology solutions and engage with industry and community stakeholder groups as Australia navigates the transition pathway to a low emissions future.
With increasing demand for low carbon products and supply chains, CCUS presents a significant investment opportunity and will drive job creation and sustainable economic growth in the Territory.
CCUS technologies are not new.
It's a proven suite of technologies used in reducing greenhouse gas emissions around the world by combining two carbon management techniques to first capture of carbon emissions, followed by either:
- transport for permanent storage deep underground in geological formations, a similar process to the way oil and gas has been trapped naturally underground for millions of years
- re-use of carbon as a resource to manufacture valuable products or services.
The proposed CCUS hub would be one of the world’s largest facilities of its kind, also enabling development of an interconnected hydrogen industry and using or sequestering carbon dioxide captured in other industrial processes.
Proposed for a wide range of different industries, the hub also has the potential to create a blueprint for future low emissions hubs around Australia.
In the Territory, the proposed CCUS Hub will:
- support the transformation of Middle Arm into a globally competitive and sustainable energy and advanced manufacturing precinct
- enable the Territory to meet growing demand for low carbon energy, both domestically and internationally
- enable carbon from other industrial sectors, such as an interconnected hydrogen industry, to be captured and stored
- pivot carbon liabilities into feedstock assets to add significant production value
- play a critical role in the diverse technology mix required to achieve climate change targets.
Collaboration is essential to realise decarbonisation solutions, pave the way for substantial industry growth and transition to a net-zero emissions future.
Proposed geological storage exploration and appraisal work program in the Petrel Subbasin (Petrel) is underway to assess the viability of this highly prospective storage resource.
This work is consistent with the study completed by the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, commissioned by the Northern Territory Government, confirming over two decades of research indicating that Petrel is a highly prospective site for geological storage, with capacity to economically store in excess of 20 million tonnes per year of carbon and more than 6 gigatonnes in total.
Testing the viability of the existing Bayu-Undan infrastructure in the Timor Sea and using the reservoir for carbon capture storage is underway by Santos, operator of the Bayu-Undan offshore gas production facility. A memorandum of understanding has been established between the operator and the Timor-Leste regulator to explore opportunities to permanently store approximately ten million tonnes of carbon per year.
The Bayu-Undan project could potentially store up to 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum, equivalent to about 1.5 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions each year
Front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase milestones for the project were announced in early 2022. A final investment decision is targeted for 2023.
Prospects of carbon capture facilities at Bayu-Undan have also led to cross-industry collaboration and cooperation enhancing opportunities for development of the Evans Shoal gas field, with an estimated resource base of least eight trillion cubic feet of gas in place.
Ichthys LNG onshore processing facility
INPEX are also preparing to capture and store CO2 produced by the Ichthys gas project, targeting operation in 2026 with investment estimated up to 100 billion yen (A$1.2 billion).
The project proposes to start injecting two million tons or more of carbon emission per year from the onshore processing facility as a first step, and could be expanded to capture seven million tons of carbon per year.