Chevron Australia has awarded General Electric (GE) a contract for the world’s largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project off the West Australia coast’s Gorgon natural gas field. Chevron estimates the CCS project will sequester four times more carbon than any other project. The project is a joint operation with the Australian subsidiaries of ExxonMobil and Shell. The Gorgon field is believed to contain about 40 trillion cubic feet of gas, about eight percent of the current global capacity. The Gorgon project is estimated to cost approximately A$43 billion for the first phase of development and about A$50 billion overall. The GE contract alone is worth over $400 million.
GE will supply six units capable of injecting captured carbon 1.3 km underground the Gorgon field. GE will also supply three refrigerant units that will chill and pump 15 million tons of natural gas a year from the Gorgon field through sub-sea and underground pipelines to gas treatment and liquefaction facilities on Barrow Island off Australian coast. Before liquefaction, the carbon will be taken out of the natural gas and injected into depleted natural gas wells.
The West Australia branch of World Wildlife Federation (WWF) opposes the Gorgon CCS project. WWF’s Paul Gamblin said, "We believe it is a substantial threat to one of Western Australia’s most important environmental icons."
Others are critical of CCS projects in general, believing that they encourage fossil fuel production.
"The main objective to mitigate climate change should be cutting carbon dioxide emissions at point of origin," said geologist Gabriela von Goerne of the German branch of Greenpeace. "By reducing fossil fuel consumption, the demand naturally shifts toward energy sources that don’t produce carbon dioxide, like solar, wind and hydro energy."
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