An environmental group says the failure of energy giant Chevron to meet emissions targets at a Pilbara gas plant will undermine public confidence in carbon capture and storage technology.
- The Conservation Council of WA has criticised Chevron for falling short of its carbon capture target
- Chevron has not reached the 80 per cent injection requirement for the first five-year period of the Gorgon LNG facility off the Pilbara coast
- The carbon capture and storage system involves taking carbon dioxide from offshore gas reservoirs and injecting it underground
It has been revealed the Gorgon LNG plant, which operates on Barrow Island off Western Australia’s Pilbara coast, has not reached its target to capture and inject 80 per cent of emissions underground in the first five years of the project.
The Conservation Council of Western Australia’s director, Piers Verstegen, said he was not surprised Chevron had fallen short of the target.
“That’s why we’re now calling on the Environment Minister and the state government to enforce those conditions and require Chevron to meet its promises.
“There is going to be a realisation that carbon capture and storage technology is problematic, it’s very expensive and it hasn’t worked in this particular situation and it shouldn’t be relied upon to justify the increased expansion of the oil and gas industry.”
Chevron Australia said the Gorgon carbon capture and storage (CCS) system worked by taking carbon dioxide from offshore gas reservoirs and injecting it two kilometres under Barrow Island, where it remains trapped.
Managing director Mark Hatfield said the system had significantly reduced the amount of greenhouse gases being vented into the atmosphere, but said the time taken to get the project started meant the company had not met its injection requirements.
“Like any pioneering endeavour, it takes time to optimise a new system to ensure it performs reliably over 40-plus years of operation.
“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.”
Conservation Council wants operations scaled back
The Conservation Council has called for operations to be suspended or scaled back at the Gorgon facility in light of the failure to meet the emissions target.
“It’s still not working as it was intended and we have no indication from Chevron on how long that’s going to take,” Mr Verstegen said.
“The minister and the state government should require Chevron to provide alternative offsets for the additional carbon pollution that’s been caused because of the failure of this carbon capture storage and capture technology.”
WA’s Environment Minister has requested a meeting with Chevron to discuss the failure to meet the target.
A spokesperson for the Department of Water and Environment Regulations said the department had written to Chevron requesting data and information specifically about the requirements and said it needed to be provided by August 9, 2021.