A scientific study jointly funded by the Victorian and Australian Governments is investigating the potential for a carbon capture and storage (CCS) network at a commercial scale offshore from the Ninety Mile Beach in Gippsland .
The network would bring together multiple carbon dioxide (CO2) capture projects in Victoria's Latrobe Valley, transporting CO2 via a shared pipeline and injecting it into deep underground, offshore storage sites.
The CarbonNet project, managed by the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, has completed feasibility studies which have been subject to independent review and certification, including detailed modelling of potential CO2 storage sites.
CarbonNet is currently in the Project Development and Commercial Establishment stage. A marine seismic survey is currently being carried out to obtain additional geological information, and an appraisal well is planned to be drilled in 2019 to retrieve rock samples. These rock samples will allow scientists to verify data and accurately assess the properties of the rock which will form the 'cap rock' and hold the stored CO2 in place.
Investigation into suitable potential carbon capture plants and technology continues, along with evaluation of transport pipeline routes to the selected injection site. Defining the commercial structure and underlying principles to attract private sector investment is also a focus during this stage of the project.
Gippsland is widely recognised as a world-class location offering significant potential for CCS. The offshore Gippsland Basin has been found to have the highest technical ranking of 25 major basins across Australia and the largest storage potential of any east coast basin (2009 National Carbon Task Force).
The project is exploring the potential to capture and store up to 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Successful implementation of this project could be the starting point for an expanding commercial scale carbon transportation and storage system.
A long running demonstration of CCS has been underway by a Victorian-based research centre, the CO2CRC, which has stored 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the rock layers below the Otways since 2008.