An inquiry has been ordered by the government of Western Australia State into the liquefied natural gas project of Chevron following delays in the burying of carbon dioxide emissions. It is understood that the conditions placed on the project are likely to change following the inquiry. The Gorgon project estimated to be worth $54 billion received the approval of the Western Australia government almost a decade ago on a condition that a minimum of 80% of the carbon dioxide emissions produced by the gas processing operations of the project would be buried over a rolling average period of five years.
According to the environment minister of the state, Stephen Dawson, a clearly defined commencement point was needed with regards to the start of the rolling average period. Speaking in the state capital Perth Dawson ordered a report to be prepared by the Environmental Protection Authority in the course of the coming nine months outlining whether changes should be enacted to the conditions as well as laying out other recommendations that may be deemed necessary.
Per Chevron the review was welcome as it would offer an opportunity of clarifying the existing condition with regards to carbon capture.
“Our focus is on the safe commissioning and start-up of the carbon dioxide injection project and achieving a high percentage of injection over the 40-year life of the Gorgon project,” an emailed statement from a Chevron spokesperson said.
Last year in December the American oil major disclosed that it would be unable to begin the capture and burying of carbon dioxide before this year’s fourth quarter. This was after problems were uncovered with pipeline and valves equipment during the commissioning of the injection system valued at $1.9 billion. Currently the CO2 injection system of Gorgon is the biggest capture and storage facility in the world.
Biggest CO2 emitter
Processing operations started a little over two years ago at about the same time when natural gas started being produced from the field. But the intention of Chevron was to begin burying CO2 after the start of production at the Gorgon field that possess higher content of carbon dioxide. Production began last year. Besides Chevron other owners of the Gorgon LNG project include JERA, Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Royal Dutch Shell, and ExxonMobil Corp.
Earlier in the year Environmental Protection Authority disclosed that the largest emitter of CO2 in the state was Gorgon with a figure of 8.3 million tons per year.