Australia Spearheads World-First Carbon Capture Hub

By Daniel Khmelev
Daniel Khmelev
Daniel Khmelev
Daniel Khmelev is an Australian reporter based in Perth covering energy, tech, and politics. He holds bachelor's degrees in math, physics, and computer science. Contact him at daniel.khmelev@epochtimes.com.au.
November 3, 2021 Updated: November 10, 2021

Australia has announced a new $220 million carbon capture and storage (CCS) hub in South Australia amid outcries for the technology to be scrapped altogether.

The federal government has lauded CCS as a critical pathway for reducing emissions in emissions-intense industries, such as energy, whereby emitted carbon dioxide is captured and piped into naturally formed underground reservoirs.

The hub, situated in Moomba in far north South Australia, two hours from the Queensland border, forms a joint venture between oil and gas giants Santos and Beach Energy.

“This carbon reduction project in the South Australian outback will be one of the biggest and lowest cost in the world and will safely and permanently store 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year in the same reservoirs that held oil and gas in place for tens of millions of years,” Santos CEO, Kevin Gallagher said.

The hub was even exhibited at the front of the Australian pavilion at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Epoch Times Photo
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends virtually during the first ASEAN-Australia Summit at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Oct. 27, 2021. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Energy and Emissions Minister Angus Taylor said the project marked a milestone in the development of the technology after being officially registered under the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).

“This is the first time a national government will award tradable, high-integrity carbon credits to large-scale projects that capture and permanently store carbon underground,” Taylor said in a media release.

The ERF allows for businesses to earn and trade Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), which was typically only possible from farmers through carbon sequestration in soil and vegetation. Now, CCS will be eligible as well.

Australia has made clear that the nation will not pursue absolute zero emissions, and, instead, will allow entities to purchase ACCUs to offset carbon dioxide generation to reach climate change commitments.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attended COP26 as chair of Fortescue Future Industries—a clean energy-focused organisation founded by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest.

Epoch Times Photo
Former Prime Minister and Fortescue Future Industries Chair Malcolm Turnbull speaking to press (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Turnbull criticised Australia’s display at COP26 and suggested that CCS had a considerably worse outcome as it facilitated the continued use of fossil fuels.

“Look at the Australian stand—you’ve got a gas company highlighted apparently at the insistence of the energy minister, who thinks that our energy policy should be all about burning gas,” Turnbull told reporters, according to The Guardian.

The push to reduce emissions and address climate concerns has been spurred on following the release of a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that hypothesised man-made emissions had unequivocally contributed to rising global temperatures.

“The whole object is to stop burning fossil fuels,” he said. “We’ve got to cut all greenhouse gas emissions, methane and CO2, particularly. We can’t keep on pretending that this is a problem we can push out on to the future. We are living with the reality of global warming now.”

Climate change communications organisation, the Climate Council, has been a heavy critic of the federal government’s investment into CCS.

“After decades of CCS research and billions of dollars invested around the world, including here in Australia, there is little to show for it,” a Climate Council spokesperson said.

“Rather than blowing taxpayer money on harmful gas, the Federal Government should invest in renewable energy technologies that deliver win-win-win outcomes for electricity prices, healthier communities, and job-creation.”

Daniel Khmelev is an Australian reporter based in Perth covering energy, tech, and politics. He holds bachelor's degrees in math, physics, and computer science. Contact him at daniel.khmelev@epochtimes.com.au.