Carbon capture doomed to fail, report says
Pumping carbon under the sea from gas rigs or storing it underground “simply won’t work” as a climate solution, an independent energy researcher warns.
In a report released on Thursday, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis examined 13 of the world’s flagship carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) projects.
More than half of them underperformed, two failed and one was mothballed, report author Bruce Robertson said.
“CCS technology has been going for 50 years and many projects have failed and continued to fail, with only a handful working,” he said.
The Gorgon project off the coast of WA – Australia’s only operating CCS system and one of the world’s largest – underperformed by about 50 per cent over its first five-year period, according to the case study.
Chevron Australia’s Gorgon liquefied natural gas operations take carbon from offshore gas reservoirs and injects it into sandstone two kilometres beneath Barrow Island, off the northwest coast.
Falling short of state government-mandated performance, Chevron Australia buys carbon credits to offset emissions and comply with its WA licence to operate.
“Many international bodies and national governments are relying on carbon capture in the fossil fuel sector to get to net zero, and it simply won’t work,” Mr Robertson said.
The Albanese government last week approved the first new offshore carbon capture areas since 2014, saying it would help Australia to lower emissions.
The Inpex, Woodside Energy and TotalEnergies joint venture is located in the Bonaparte Basin off the Northern Territory coast, while Woodside Energy’s project is in the Browse Basin off the West Australian coast.
“CCS is a safe, key proven technology that can support the petroleum sector in its low carbon transition,” federal Resources Minister Madeleine King said in a statement.
Carbon capture has been used since last century for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), where oil and gas producers inject pressurised carbon into reservoirs to squeeze out more hydrocarbons.
The report said EOR projects use almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of the carbon captured each year.
Over the past 50 years, only a small proportion of carbon capture projects (10 to 20 per cent) have stored carbon in dedicated geological structures without using it for EOR, the report found.
Mr Robertson said CCS might have a role to play for hard-to-abate cement, fertilisers and steelmaking, but he recommended safeguards.
Projects must be in safe locations, and have a centuries-long monitoring plan and compensation figured out in case of failure, the report said.
No liability should land with taxpayers, particularly if government subsidies, grants and tax credits have been provided for capturing the carbon.
Nor should it be used to promote more oil extraction or extend the life of any type of fossil fuel asset as a “climate solution”, he said.
The two most successful projects were in the gas processing sector – Sleipner and Snohvit in Norway.
“We MUST respect this earth - it is all we have
Claudio Dametto - South Australia
“I will always Vote to Preserve Our World.
Liam McGregor - Western Australia
“A simple message that even a politician can understand
Felicity Crombach - Victoria
“Please show you care about our future generations!!
Phil Harmer - New South Wales
“Save our world , Life & health before profits.
Kerry Lillian - New South Wales
“Close down all coal mines and Do not mine gas . Make these Companies
Daniel Johnson - New South Wales
“We want carbon free energy!
Edan Clarke - New South Wales
“Feels good to be taking a voter action step
Beaver Hudson - New South Wales
“Great Initiative. Let’s Hold elected officials Accountable to their bosses, us!
John Paul Posada - New South Wales
“We need actions not words we need honest democratic govt We need a pm
Bob Pearce - South Australia
“Thank you for this great resource. I was feeling helpless. Even this small step
Silvia Anderson - Victoria
“If political parties continue receiving political donations, we will rarely have politicians working for
Dan Chicos - New South Wales
“I only vote for people who will take urgent action to restore a safe
Susie Burke - Victoria
“Current government is not representing the opinion of the majority of Australian to meet
Neil Price - Tasmania
“We are fighting to rescue our kids' future from those who seek to steal
Vanessa Norimi - Queensland
“No time to waste Now or Never My vote is for NOW
Rosalie White - Victoria
“I am only 9 but I already care
Ava Bell - New South Wales
“From New Lambton Uniting Church - Caring for our world is a moral imperative.
Niall McKay - New South Wales
“Our federal govt is an International climate Embarrassment - its about time they stepped
Oriana Tolo - Victoria
“Vote earth this time!
Sue Cooke - Queensland
“We are in one on the wealthiest countries in the world. we have the
rowan huxtable - New South Wales
“The climate Emergency is the public health opportunity and urgent priority of the 21st
Mike Forrester - Victoria
“If they want my vote they better act now
Barbara McNiff - New South Wales
“We need to act locally now for the earth. Our only home. Vote Earth
Anne Miller - New South Wales
“I often look at the places I've known all my life and see how
Jim Baird - New South Wales
“Strike one For people power!!! Democracy might prevail outside the current cronyism that faces
Lorraine Bridger - New South Wales
“Our federal politicians Are Afraid to make action on climate change a major election
Jennifer Martin - New South Wales
“climate election, let's go!
Fahimah Badrulhisham - New South Wales
“Great to see this website that is a focus on action for climate change
Lynette Sinclair - New South Wales
“Let’s show politicians and the Murdoch media that climate change is by far the
Jane Aitken - Australian Capital Territory
“If you want to stay in power You need to take action to stop
Jane Bulter - New South Wales
“We are all that stands between terminal climate change and the vulnerable. We are
Carol Khan - Queensland
“We need a Government that Believes this is real and not taking money from
Ken Gray - New South Wales
“I'm voting for my childrens future
Anneliese Alexander - New South Wales