Australia seeks CO2 sequestration program

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Oct. 4 -- Australia wants to become a world leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the capture and long-term geological storage of carbon dioxide, according to Ian Macfarlane, Australia's Minister for Industry, Tourism, and Resources.

Speaking at the fourth multinational Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum in Berlin, he said 50% of Australia's CO2 emissions came from stationary sources and were therefore suitable for geosequestration. The government agency Geoscience Australia has identified 65 viable CO2 storage sites in Australia, he added.

"Australia has the geology, the scientific expertise, the industry enthusiasm, and the political will to capitalize on the carbon capture opportunity," Macfarlane said. "But it is an opportunity that will take an international effort to realize."

The forum discussed a recent United Nations report that recommends using existing technology developed by the petroleum industry to capture CO2 underground. It estimates the risks are similar to those of the current practice of storing natural gas. Ninety-nine percent of properly stored CO2 will not leak in the next 1,000 years.

The report added that the capture process requires extra energy, which may mean increased consumption of fossil fuels.

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