Gorgon CCS plant starts up after two-year delay

Article by Adam Duckett

CHEVRON’S US$54bn Gorgon LNG project has started operation of one of the world’s largest carbon capture facilities, though it comes more than two years later than planned.

The US$2.5bn carbon capture facility on Barrow Island off Western Australia has been licensed by the state government to strip out and store at least 80% of the CO2 produced from two natural gas fields. The facility will inject 3.4-4m t/y of CO2 underground for storage, reducing emissions from the overall project by around 40%.

Chevron has blamed technical issues for the lengthy delay to CCS operations, citing excess water entering the pipeline and injection well, which increases the risk of corrosion.

Commenting on the startup, Chevron Australia Managing Director Al Williams said: “We are monitoring system performance and plan to safely ramp up injection volumes over the coming months as we bring online processing facilities.”

The environmental performance of the sector made headlines earlier this year after the Federal Government said LNG was largely responsible for a 3.5m t/y climb in national emissions.

The Gorgon field contains around 14% CO2 which must be removed prior to gas processing and liquefaction to prevent it from freezing. The captured CO2 is piped to one of three drill centres and injected into the Dupuy Formation more than 2 km beneath Barrow Island. Chevron expects it will store around 100m t of CO2 in the formation across the life of the Gorgon project.

The CCS project is the third largest in the world by capture capacity. According to data from the Global CCS Institute, the two largest operating facilities are Century Plant natural gas processing plant in the US (8.4m t/y) and Shute Creek natural gas processing plant in the US (7m t/y).

The Gorgon Project includes a three-train, 15.6m t/y LNG facility and a gas plant with the capacity to supply 300 TJ/d of gas through a 90 km pipeline to mainland Western Australia.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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