INPEX securing a cleaner energy future
Carbon Capture and Storage is critical for the carbon reduction targets of gas and other sectors and work to develop and implement the technology must succeed, the Energy Club of WA’s November industry dinner was told.
INPEX Vice President Growth Phil Grainger said CCS was an important component of reducing the carbon emissions of the company’s Ichthys LNG plant.
Overall, he said, Australia is well-positioned to contribute to the energy transition while simultaneously enhancing energy security in the region.
“As an industry, we must continue collaborating to develop a clean, dynamic and resilient energy economy,” Mr Grainger said.
“We all have an important role to play in providing safe, secure, and clean energy to this growing global population. These are indeed challenging and very exciting times.”
He outlined INPEX’s approach to reducing the carbon emissions from Ichthys, ranked among the most significant oil and gas projects in the world.
Located about 220km off WA and 820km southwest of Darwin, the Ichthys Field covers an area of around 800 square kilometres in water averaging depths of around 250 metres.
The Ichthys Field is estimated to contain more than 12 trillion cubic feet of gas and 500 million barrels of condensate.
It is one of the few energy projects worldwide to incorporate the whole chain of development and production: subsea, offshore, pipeline and onshore.
Mr Grainger explained the phases designed to progressively decarbonise the operation based in Darwin.
Energy efficiencies and emission reductions were built into the design and the plant was now operating at or sometimes beyond design specifications, thanks to added improvements.
“There are numerous minor plant modifications we can make to further improve efficiency and drive down emissions,” Mr Grainger said.
Successful CCS, which he said was the “first big intervention” towards decarbonisation and was being assessed now in a joint venture, could be used to reduce emissions from the acid gas removal units.
The next big step following that was to tackle the emissions associated with the liquefaction process which could include converting the operation to run on blue hydrogen, with the CO2 created captured and stored in the same way as emissions from the acid gas removal units.
Asked at what price per tonne of sequestered carbon CCS would become unviable, Mr Grainger said that to ask from the perspective of viability was the wrong question.
“It has to be viable,” he said. “If you've come up with a carbon price and decided that CCS isn't viable at that price you probably got the wrong carbon price. Because it has to be. I don't see how we can rise to the challenge without doing CCS at scale.
“I don’t think CCS is a money-making business. That’s my view. Some people think it will be.
“I think we should view it as a cost (and) it has to be minimised. The only way to do that is to collaborate and use industry associations and people to help drive that collaboration and be much more open with sharing information and results.”
INPEX is involved in a joint venture with Woodside Energy and TotalEnergies to evaluate an area off the Australian coast for geological storage of CO2.
Mr Grainger said the offshore acreage covering the Bonaparte CCS Assessment joint venture had the potential to support one of the largest CCS projects in the world, not only for Ichthys LNG, but for the next generation of clean fuels.
“The geology… seems to be very similar to the setting for the Sleipner project in the Norwegian North Sea, the first and arguably the most successful aquifer-based storage project in the world, having stored roughly a million tonnes per annum for over 20 years,” he said.
“Our optimistic assessment of this setting is shared by many others who have studied the basin, including Geoscience Australia, which identified this as one of the most promising basins in Australia for large-scale storage of CO2.
“The Bonaparte CCS appraisal works will involve drilling two appraisal wells close to the proposed CO2 injection site and also gathering three-dimensional seismic data. Work will take place to further assess the storage complex to confirm the suitability for injection storage of CO2.
“We're currently progressing design of facilities required for Ichthys LNG to export the CO2 and we continue to work with the Northern Territory Government, the CSIRO and other industry partners to mature the whole Middle Arm (Sustainable Development Precinct) concept.”
He said the vision was to develop a CCS hub that benefits from scale and shares infrastructure to reduce costs for all users.
“It's really just a pipeline network that connects nodes which are a source of CO2 with storage nodes. Future trains, Ichthys LNG or Darwin LNG would be obvious future point sources of CO2.
“Beyond LNG, the Northern Territory Government has ambitions for a significant industrial development on Middle Arm. Potentially this could introduce other emitters that want to access the hub.”