The storage of carbon dioxide at a commercial scale in deep geological formation is one of a number of options being considered to reduce atmospheric emissions. The process involves physical trapping through a number of mechanisms, preventing escape to the surface. Storage sites currently being explored include onshore and offshore locations around Australia.

The challenge

Geological suitability and monitoring

Injecting CO2 underground is a well-established technology taken from oil and gas industry experience. However, each CO2 storage site is geologically unique and must be investigated for its suitability and long-term security. The ongoing monitoring of storage sites is also important, to ensure the CO2 remains contained in the geological formation as predicted, and to measure and report any anomalies.

More research is needed to identify and expand our knowledge on which geological formations are most suitable for permanent storage and how we go about effectively monitoring CO2 movement - both deep underground and in the marine environment.

Our response

Land and marine research

We are involved in a number of research projects, both on land and in the marine environment. These projects will see the advancement of our understanding of CO2 behaviour in geological formations, and investigate suitable technologies to monitor CCS sites.

In Western Australia, we are working closely with the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety to complete a number of in-situ tests. These studies will expand our understanding of the storage capacity and containment potential of a geology type not currently considered in the CCS portfolio.

In Victoria, we are completing a number of projects funded by the Commonwealth Government's Australian National Low Emissions Coal Research and Development initiative (ANLEC R&D). This work includes leading the marine component of GipNet, which is intended to undertake research to improve methods for the environmental components of measurement, monitoring and verification (MMV) in marine coastal CCS projects.

The research outcomes will help to provide certainty to regulators and the community about CCS and its operation in the environment.

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