Santos will evaluate and perform appraisal work for the potential storage of carbon dioxide in the offshore Carnarvon and Bonaparte basins, off the coast of Western Australia.

The Australian company has been awarded permits G-9-AP and G-11-AP that will enable it to pursue potential carbon capture and storage (CCS) opportunities with its joint venture partners.

In the Carnarvon basin, the permit creates potential new acreage for CCS beyond Santos’ Reindeer fields, where it has plans for a Western Australia CCS hub at Reindeer and Devil Creek.

The second permit is larger, covering more than 26,000 square kilometres in the Bonaparte basin, near to the operator’s Bayu-Undan CCS project, which with touted storage capacity of up 10 million tonnes per annum has the potential to be one of the largest such projects in the world.

The Bayu-Undan CCS project is currently in the front-end engineering and design phase.

Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher said the two new permits build on the company’s CCS strategy and have the potential to yield additional CCS opportunities.

“Carbon capture and storage is critical for the world to reduce emissions and in line with Santos’ net-zero Scope 1 and 2 equity-share emissions by 2040 target, we are committed to looking at all options for CCS capabilities,” said Gallagher.

“Santos is working towards developing its three hub CCS strategy across our operating footprint in Australia and Timor-Leste, and the award of these permits represents further demonstration of our commitment to that strategy.”

The company’s first CCS project — at Moomba onshore Australia — is already 20% complete. Moomba has 100 million tonnes of CO2 storage capacity.

Global scale

“At Santos, we have the technology, infrastructure and knowledge to be able to deliver low-cost CCS competitively on a global scale. We know a large scale-up of CCS is required to meet the world’s climate objectives,” added Gallagher.

“Working with our partners to assess the storage potential in these permit areas will provide us with a greater understanding of the geology and inform us of the possible storage opportunities.”

Santos has a 50% operated interest in the 3589-square kilometre G-9-AP permit and its sole partner is Chevron, also on 50%. Santos too operates the G-11-AP permit where its co-venturers are US supermajor Chevron with 30% and South Korea’s SK E&S having 20%.

Globally, there are currently 133 commercial CCS projects operational or under development, Santos noted.

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