Study shows geology off 90 Mile Beach suitable for storing carbon dioxide

THE study of rock samples from beneath the seabed off the 90 Mile Beach indicate the geology is suitable for the technology to store carbon dioxide.

State Resources Minister Jaclyn Symes said the successful drilling of an offshore appraisal well at the Pelican site in Bass Strait and positive initial results were a major milestone for CarbonNet and the state’s low emissions future.

The operation was completed over eight weeks, with more than 100 crew members working to drill and investigate the well to confirm the seabed’s geology and extract more than 90 metres of core samples.

Over the next near, rock samples will be further tested to assess their composition, the amount of space available to be filled, the ease with which fluids can flow through them and their strength and resistance to CO2.

Combined with the data acquired from the 2018 marine seismic survey, the well data will be used to model the Pelican site for long-term storage of CO2 as the CarbonNet project works towards establishing a carbon capture and storage network in Gippsland.

“These initial results are really exciting – it means that we are a step closer to a CCS network in Gippsland that creates jobs and helps the environment,” Ms Symes said.

“Backing ground-breaking technology like this is a key part of reducing our carbon footprint.”

More than 20 sites around the world are storing carbon dioxide at a commercial scale, including in Australia. In Victoria, CO2 has been stored at the CO2CRC test facility in the Otway Ranges for a decade.

Climate change experts such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agree removing CO2 from our atmosphere and storing it below ground is needed to support decarbonisation across industrial sectors, lowering global greenhouse gas emissions.

These results are an important step towards the storage of CO2, and the potential creation of engineering, technical and maintenance jobs through new industries like hydrogen production in Gippsland.