Carbon dioxide has been successfully injected underground during the latest phase of a carbon capture, storage and utilisation (CCUS) research project in Australia, which is backed by several oil and gas heavyweights.

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CO2CRC confirmed Friday it had successfully completed the injection of 15,050 tonnes of CO2 into a saline formation 1.5 kilometres below ground at its Otway International Test Centre (OITC) in Victoria.

It added it marked a “major milestone” for the Otway Stage 3 Project and brings the total volume of CO2 stored at the OITC, since the commencement of operations in 2007, to just over 95,000 tonnes.

The A$45 million (US$35 million) Otway Stage 3 Project is aimed at developing subsurface CO2 monitoring and verification technologies for application in commercial CCS projects. CO2CRC has estimated the project has the potential to reduce monitoring costs for commercial scale CCS projects by up to 75%.

Focus on scientific deliverables

The successful injection of CO2 marks the end of field operations at the Otway Stage 3 Project, with CO2CRC chief executive David Byers saying attention would now turn to the scientific deliverables of the project.

“The monitoring and verification technology infrastructure now in place at the OITC provide significant improvements in data collection and processing time and allow the scientists to track an image of the CO2 plume on demand as it moves through the storage reservoir,” he said.

“Working with our partners CSIRO, Curtin University, and the University of Sydney we will analyse the data and conduct detailed techno-economic studies on the Stage 3 technologies. We aim to validate our initial estimates of the potential for monitoring cost reductions of up to 75% for commercial scale CCS projects.”

The Otway Stage 3 project is being jointly funded by the Australian government’s Education Investment Fund, Low Emissions Technology Australia (LETA), BHP and the Victorian state government.

CO2CRC is a not-for-profit research organisation and is partnered with a number of oil and gas giants including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, Eni, BHP, Santos and Woodside Petroleum, among others.