Chevron and its partners are continuing to underperform at the world’s largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

The multi-billion-dollar scheme at the Gorgon liquefied natural gas project on Barrow Island, Western Australia should be removing 4 million tonnes per annum of carbon dioxide.

Since CO2 injection finally started in August 2019, more than 7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases have been injected — 1.646 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) in the 2021-2022 financial year alone — but this is still woefully short of the nameplate capacity.

“As with the 18 July 2016 to 17 July 2021 compliance period, as a result of the time needed to address the technical issues to ensure the safe operation of the CO2 injection project over the life of the Gorgon project, it was not possible to meet the target level… the shortfall from the target level set… for the period 18 July 2017 [to] 17 July 2022 is approximately 2.4 million tCO2e,” admitted Chevron.

In the Gorgon Gas Development and Jansz Feed Gas Pipeline Environmental Performance Report 2022 released this week, Chevron said the key reasons for the shortfall between the volume of reservoir carbon dioxide extracted and injected for 2021–2022 were the regulatory limits on injection rates until late 2021.

It pointed to its careful management of reservoir pressure and CO2 injection rates on the Dupuy Formation reservoir, where there are reduced water production rates.

“Early reservoir performance and modelling has indicated that additional pressure management capacity is required to manage reservoir pressures. [Chevron Australia] is progressing plans to optimise the current pressure management system to increase water production rates.”

Syrie Crouch, CCS vice president at Gorgon partner Shell, confirmed to Upstream in June that Gorgon’s problems relate to the water production and reinjection of the water.

“The CCS part and the CO2 injection is working fine but it’s the water production and water management system that is challenging at the moment. It’s managing it holistically, as a whole [that is proving difficult],” she said.

The Gorgon joint venture participants have invested more than A$3.2 billion (US$2.17 billion) in the CCS project.

In the third quarter of 2022, Chevron produced a record amount of LNG from its Australian operations, primarily from the Gorgon and Wheatstone projects.

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