Chevron Australia’s Gorgon CCS Facility Misses 5-Year Target

Chevron’s major CCS project (which it operates for partners including Shell and ExxonMobil) has missed its target to sequester 4 million tonnes of emissions over 5 years; the West Australian government has sought an explanation and might fine them

A view of Chevron Australia’s Gorgon CCS Project. Credit: Chevron Australia website

A view of Chevron Australia’s Gorgon CCS Project. Credit: Chevron Australia website

Chevron Australia has admitted that its major carbon capture and storage project in West Australia, the Gorgon facility has failed to meet its 5-year target. The oil giant had described the Gorgon facility as the world’s biggest CCS project, with a target of injecting 4 million tonnes of carbon emissions generated by an LNG facility beneath the Barrow Island for permanent storage. However, it is possible that Chevron has managed to meet only 30% of that target. Chevron operates the facility on behalf of other partners including Shell and ExxonMobil.

Following the announcement, climate activists have pointed out that keeping in mind the financial and environmental fallout of Gorgon’s missed target, Chevron must be fined heavily. An analysis has estimated that the fine could be over €62 million if the West Australian government insists that Chevron offset all the emissions that have breached its approval requirements.

Mark Hatfield, the CEO of Chevron Australia said: “We are deploying technology, innovation and skills to deliver cleaner energy and reduce our carbon footprint. The road hasn’t always been smooth, but the challenges we’ve faced and overcome make it easier for those who aspire to reduce their emissions through CCS. We will work with the WA regulator on how to make up the shortfall. Chevron Australia will [also] release a report on the issue later this year.”

The project was developed at a cost of €2.5 billion of which it received almost €60 million in state funding. Its operations were delayed by almost 3 years because of technical setbacks. Under its agreement with the West Australian government, the facility was to sequester almost 4 million tonnes of carbon emissions generated by an LNG facility, which would mean removing 80% emissions over a period of 5 years. However, Gorgon was not required to remove emissions generated when LNG was being processed. This means that to be successful, Gorgon would essentially remove only 40% emissions from the LNG refinery. The West Australian environment minister, Amber-Jade Sanderson had called Chevron for a meeting to address the situation.

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