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South Australia has a large endowment of onshore storage reservoirs suitable for carbon capture and storage (CCS), particularly in the depleted oil and gas fields of the Cooper and Otway basins. The implementation of carbon capture and storage will decarbonise existing emissions intensive industries and increase their global competitiveness in a carbon constrained future. Carbon capture and storage gives South Australia the opportunity to create a new industrial ‘hub’ for competitive abatement of emissions – especially in sectors with difficult to abate process emissions such as cement, steel and iron manufacturing; natural gas processing; and biofuel production. Furthermore, carbon capture and storage can also enable new technologies such as low carbon hydrogen production from natural gas, enhanced oil recovery and direct air carbon capture and storage.

Analysis by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency has consistently shown that carbon capture and storage is an essential part of the lowest cost path towards meeting global climate targets.

The Commonwealth Government has committed to developing a national Technology Investment Roadmap to drive investment in low emissions technologies while strengthening the Australian economy. The Commonwealth has flagged carbon capture and storage as one of the technologies to be included in their roadmap.

On 1 October 2021, the Commonwealth Government’s Clean Energy Regulator (CER) finalised and registered the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Carbon Capture and Storage) Methodology Determination 2021. This CCS method will enable projects that capture greenhouse gases for permanent storage in underground geological formations to generate Australian carbon credit units under the Emissions Reduction Fund, subject to eligibility requirements. CCS project proponents are able to submit an application to register a CCS project through the CER Client Portal.

The Department are involved in the development and implementation of policies, international standards, and leading practice regulation to facilitate carbon capture and storage projects. One of these projects proposed by Santos is for carbon capture and storage at Moomba. This project aims to permanently store into the depleted oil and gas fields of the Cooper Basin 1.7 million tonnes a year of carbon dioxide currently vented from the Moomba gas processing plant – representing a cut of more than 7% to South Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. These fields have held natural gas and oil for 85 million years and can provide for safe, low-cost and permanent storage of carbon. In the long term, carbon storage in the Cooper Basin could store 20 million tonnes a year from other industrial emitters for more than 50 years.

DEM chairs the Standards Australia National Mirror Committee to contribute on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee 265 for Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage. The scope of ISO Technical Committee 265 is for the standardisation of design, construction, operation, environmental planning and management, risk management, quantification, monitoring and verification, and related activities in the field of carbon dioxide capture, transportation, EOR and geological storage.

Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS)

The Department acknowledge there is significant potential for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the South Australian Cooper and Eromanga basins. EOR using carbon dioxide (CO2) is of particular interest due to the added environmental benefit of sequestering CO2 underground. The descriptions and outputs provided relate to the CO2 EOR initiatives the Department are progressing.

Enhanced oil recovery, status and potential in Australia

DEM represents Australia as a member country of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Technology Collaboration Program (TCP) for EOR – an independent, international group of experts that enable governments and industries from around the world to share knowledge regarding EOR technology including CO2 flooding.

Potential for carbon dioxide EOR in the Cooper-Eromanga Basins

In 2018 a research project regarding the potential for CO2 EOR in South Australia was undertaken by the Department, including application in residual oil zones (ROZ). The research also involved screening of fields in the Cooper and Eromanga basins to determine where CO2 is more likely to achieve miscibility with oil.  The final report is available to download with data and results provided as appendices.

Front cover of potential for CO2 EOR in Cooper-Eromanga report

Download the Potential for Carbon Dioxide EOR in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins (PDF 3.3 MB)


Presented atPresented by and title of presentation
EOR TCP - Enhanced Oil Recovery Technology Collaboration Programme
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
16-20 September 2019
Carbon dioxide injection in the Residual Oil Zones of the Cooper and Eromanga Basins (PDF 4.2 MB)
Dominic Pepicelli, Principal Reservoir Engineer - Engineering Operations
IEA TCP for Enhanced Oil Recovery Workshop and Symposium
Copenhagen, Denmark
6 September 2018
Enhanced Oil Recovery, Status and Potential in Australia (PDF 4.2 MB)
Dominic Pepicelli, Principal Reservoir Engineer - Engineering Operations
International Overview of CO2 Utilisation Symposium
2 July 2018
CO2 Utilisation in Australia (PDF 2 MB)
Michael Malavazos, Director - Engineering Operations