GHGT-16 Technical Plenary 3 Thursday 27th October


By James Craig

15 November 2022

The third technical plenary present at the GHGT-16 conference explored the challenges of CCS in two contrasting resource-rich countries: Australia and Indonesia.

Matthias Raab, the Chief Executive Officer for CO2CRC opened the plenary with an overview entitled “CCS in Australia’s transition to a low emission future”.He was followed by Mohammad Rachmat Sule, the Manager of National CoE for CCS/CCUS at Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia. Both speakers outlined how their respective countries were implementing a series of initiatives to progressively decarbonise their economies. This is a significant challenge as both countries economies are heavily dependent on their mineral wealth and, in the case of Indonesia, still predominantly reliant on domestic fossil-fuel derived energy.

Matthias stressed that the world needs to decarbonise but not defossilise. There is a strong dependence on CCS technologies to achieve this goal but they need to prove that they are safe, reliable and necessary. What is clear is that CO2 storage is immediate and permanent and can be operated at very large scale. Moreover, recognition of the economic value of CCS can be demonstrated when the cost of emitting CO2 exceeds the cost of CCS implementation.

Australia’s rapid progress with CCS is apparent from the 14 projects which have reached a feasibility stage by 2022.AUS$250M has now been committed in investment. The country is a big LNG exporter which has significant implications for large-scale CO2 storage. Australia’s north-west shelf has significant LNG potential.CO2 from these fields could be injected into Timor L’este’s Bayn-Undan depleted gas field which is in the adjacent shelf area. Within the next 5 -1 5 years there will be more large-scale project roll-outs, however, nothing is guaranteed. There is an acknowledgement within industry that a 43% reduction in carbon emissions needs to be achieved by 2030 if the 2050 net-zero target is to be met.

One of the many complications facing the country are its CCS regulations. There are variations between states and the Federal framework is over 15 years old. There are omissions with respect to ACCS credits for some options including CO2-EOR and DACCs. Regulators are not necessary fully conversant with CCS and CCUS technologies or the latest and most effective monitoring techniques.

One area where the Australians have made an impressive impact is their contribution to R&D, particularly in the field of subsurface CO2 monitoring. At the forefront of this drive is the Otway International Test Centre which has been responsible for breakthrough technologies. These include the post injection monitoring which has successfully tracked a CO2 plume by using 4D surface seismic. The development of stationary orbital vibrators, in combination with distributed acoustic sensors (DAS), has enabled rapid acquisition of subsurface signals to detect the plume using transects. Vertical fibre optic can image as little at 300 tonnes of CO2 using time lapse techniques in as little as two days. However, the technology took 10 years to develop and has to be clearly demonstrated. A paradigm shift in cost reduction of 80%, in this monitoring technology, has been achieved which is a considerable achievement.

In terms of storage developments Australia is planning CO2-EOR partly because the country is 90% reliant on imported oil so there is an energy security imparative.Australia is also developing underground hydrogen storage by end 2020s and DACCs.

Mohammad Rachmat Sule outlined how the role and commercialization of CCS/CCUS could meet Indonesia’s Net Zero Emission Target.

The country’s target for greenhouse gas reduction from the energy sector between 2010 and 2030 is between 314 and 398 M tonnes of CO2.The gas could be captured from a number of natural gas fields, industrial sites but would be predominately derived from coal-fired power plants.There are 15 CCS/CCUS projects across the country which should come to fruition before 2030.The first storage project in the Gundih Field is scheduled for initial injection by 2027. Injection of 3 M tonnes of cumulative CO2 is planned over in 10 years.Storage potential in oil and gas (O&G) fields, estimated by LEMIGAS, could be ~2 G tonnes in O&G reservoirs and 10 G tonnes in saline aquifers.Emissions from the country’s upstream and downstream O&G industries is projected to peak at 44 M tonnes by 2030 and then decline to ~12 M tonnes by 2060 as storage is implemented.

Draft ministerial regulations are under development with both internal ministries and a number of other international public and private institutions from eight countries plus the EU. These include, UK, USA, Australia, Norway and Singapore. The scope covers technical, business, legal and economic aspects. The proposed scheme allows either the government or a company to benefit from a carbon credit based system depending on the economics of an individual project.

This plenary highlighted the shear scale and ambition which both countries are advancing to meet their 2050 net-zero targets. The challenges are significant, but with sufficient political will and drive decarbonisation, at scale, could be achievable.

Matthias Raab, the Chief Executive Officer for CO2CRC at GHGT-16 Mohammad Rachmat Sule, the Manager of National CoE for CCS/CCUS at Institut Teknologi Bandung

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