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Australian Parliament passes Bill providing framework for offshore CCS development

15th May 2020

Topic(s): CarbonNet, CCS Project, Legal & Regulatory

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Cross-boundary Greenhouse Gas Titles and Other Measures) Bill 2019 was this week approved by the Australian Senate and is now awaiting royal assent.

The bill amends the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 to:

  • Provide for the grant and administration of single greenhouse gas (GHG) titles that straddle the boundary between Commonwealth waters and state or Northern Territory coastal waters
  • Enable unification of adjacent Commonwealth GHG titles
  • Strengthen and clarify the powers of National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority inspectors during oil pollution emergencies.

Importantly for the development of CCS in Australia, the successful passing of this Bill is a critical first step towards removing the prohibition on cross-jurisdictional and multi-permit straddling for the CarbonNet Project, which will allow the Project to progress regulatory applications for its portfolio of storage sites – including its prioritised CO2 storage site, Pelican.

The passing of the Commonwealth Bill is a significant milestone towards achieving regulatory certainty for the CarbonNet Project, enabling a clear pathway for the project to succeed.

The CarbonNet Project is investigating the feasibility of a commercial-scale CCS network, involving multiple CCS projects transporting carbon dioxide via a shared pipeline and injecting it into deep offshore underground storage sites in Gippsland Basin. The project has the potential to provide a CCS network to enable the development of low-carbon industrial projects for the region, including the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain.

Successful implementation of the CarbonNet Project will lead to jobs in new low emissions industries in Gippsland, such as hydrogen and fertiliser production. CarbonNet also provides the opportunity to establish new negative carbon emission technologies, enabling a significant reduction in carbon emissions in Victoria, consistent with a net-zero emissions by 2050 target.

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