There has been strong interest in the Australian government’s offshore acreage release for areas to explore for potential carbon capture and storage (CCS) sites, according to the nation’s upstream industry body.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) made the claim on Thursday, just as bidding was set to close on five areas to explore for potential greenhouse gas storage opportunities.

Are you missing out on ACCELERATE?
Gain valuable insight into the global oil and gas industry energy transition from ACCELERATE, the free weekly newsletter from Upstream and Recharge.

“We understand members showed strong interest in this release, illustrating a solid backing of the pathway to a lower emissions, cleaner energy future,” said APPEA chief executive Andrew McConville.

“The oil and gas industry is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and some of our members are targeting earlier dates.”

McConville added that oil and gas companies had already spent billions of dollars in Australia on technologies that have the potential to reduce greenhouse emissions, such as hydrogen and CCS.

“CCS has an important role in lowering the carbon intensity of gas production and in supporting the development of a blue hydrogen industry,” he said.

“CCS is a viable and proven method and the oil and gas industry is well-positioned to deliver the technology.”

The Australian government launched the offshore acreage release late last year, releasing five prospective areas for greenhouse gas storage off the coast of the Northern Territory and Western Australia in the Bonaparte, Browse and Northern Carnarvon basins.

Australia is already home to one of the world’s largest CCS projects, Chevron’s Gorgon CO2 injection project in Western Australia, while there are several other potential large scale CCS projects on the horizon.

Woodside Petroleum revealed last year it was partnering with BP and Japan Australia LNG (MiMi), which are two of its five partners in the North West Shelf LNG facility, to assess the technical, regulatory and commercial feasibility of capturing carbon emitted by multiple industries on the Burrup Peninsula and storing it in offshore reservoirs in the Northern Carnarvon basin.

Meanwhile, the Australian government and Victorian state government are pursuing the CarbonNet project, which is aimed at establishing a large-scale, multi-user CCS network.

CarbonNet would look to integrate multiple carbon capture sites in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley and transport the CO2 via a common-use pipeline and inject it deep into offshore underground storage sites in Victoria’s Gippsland region.

The project aims to initially transport and store up to 5 million tonnes per annum of CO2, with the potential to increase the project’s capacity over time.