Australian APPEA conference hears about top global carbon capture plan from LNG operator

Tuesday, 23 May 2023
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LNG News Editor: 

Santos Chief Executive Kevin Gallagher told the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Adelaide that Australia would soon be taking emissions from natural gas production and heavy industries as a world leader in carbon management services.

“The main game is gas because it makes renewables possible,” he said in response to careless and environmentally extreme policies being touted worldwide that would have intermittent solar and wind power without gas-fired power back-up.

Moomba project

Gallagher said in his speech to the APPEA even that if Santos could deliver abated gas to customers for about $24 a tonne, this would decrease the huge costs to Australia of the energy transition.

Santos, which is based in Adelaide, is a main domestic natural gas supplier and operator of the Darwin and Gladstone LNG export plants supplying Asia and has LNG production stakes in Papua New Guinea.

The Santos CEO pointed out that his company was already a first mover in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) development as an investment in decarbonisation consistent with the company’s own Climate Transition Action Plan.

The Santos Moomba CCS project in the Cooper Basin in the outback of South Australia was 40 percent complete at the end of 2022 and was on track for the first injection of CO2 in 2024.

Santos has invested several hundred million dollars in the Moomba CCS Project.

It will be the biggest in the world and able to 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.

Gallagher said the Moomba CCS project would be a “game changer” for the future of gas, both in Australia and Asia.

“It will allow existing energy infrastructure, appliances and industrial processes to continue to be used while new technologies are commercialised over time,” he explained.

One year away from its first injection of carbon dioxide, Gallagher said the Cooper Basin area could store up to 20MT of carbon a year for the next 50 years.

A speech was also made to the APPEA conference by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, the head of the Liberal (conservative) party who accused the Labor-led Government of doing everything possible to shut down coal and frustrate the natural gas sector.

“They’re jeopardising Australia’s energy security and they’re discouraging foreign investment,” he said in reference to their introduction of more tax rises on LNG businesses and natural gas price fixing.

“The federal government was undermining reliable and affordable base-load power for homes and businesses,” added Dutton.

“They’re creating sovereign risk never before seen in Australia and longstanding trading and investment partners are concerned,” he said.

Dutton stated that natural gas remained in the “regulatory crosshairs” with the Labor Government’s energy policy driven by “renewable zealotry”.


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