Chevron has stored about 6.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide at its Gorgon carbon capture and storage project in Australia, up from just 5 million last July, despite an estimated injection capacity of 4 million tonnes per year.
The US supermajor attributes the continued shortfalls of the project to a slower than expected removal rate of water that must be extracted to create space for carbon dioxide storage.
The sequestration site is in a Class A nature reserve, which makes the process more complicated, said Chevron executive vice president of upstream Jay Johnson.
“These problems are solvable, and they do not represent in my view any kind of restriction on the viability of carbon sequestration as a means of storing CO2 for long periods,” Johnson said during the company’s second quarter earnings call.
“What I would expect is that as we learn and as we go through this, what it is teaching us is that there are uncertainty ranges on any reservoir, whether you are producing from it or injecting into it. And having sufficient contingencies and mitigations, depending on where you find yourself in those uncertainty ranges when you actually put the facility into operation, is important.”
“We will need to keep these in mind as we develop sequestration projects around the world. So the science is good, the technology works, it is just the basic issues that we face on reservoirs around the world that we now need to overcome,” Johnson said.
The company said both its Chevron technology ventures arm and its new energies business is working on its carbon capture efforts around the world, especially in the US where Chevron has made considerable advancements this year.
Chevron entered a joint venture with Talos and US carbon capture company Carbonvert for the Bayou Bend CCS hub in Texas, as well as filed a conditional use permit in Kern County, California, to store carbon dioxide emissions from one of its co-generation plants.
“The beauty of having a portfolio like we do is we can put these pilot projects and we can put these demonstration projects wherever it makes the most sense from a regulatory, fiscal, and return standpoint, and develop these technologies that we are all going to need moving forward,” Johnson said.
The company is making progress in its other energy transition ventures as well. It recently completed the acquisition of biofuels company Renewable Energy Group.
Chevron also launched a joint venture with agriculture company Bunge to produce renewable fuels.