BPH Energy (ASX: BPH) has presented a carbon capture plan for a third of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions using the planned Baleen gas drilling program in the offshore Sydney Basin.
The company said the Baleen prospect, located about 30km south of Newcastle off the New South Wales coast, offers significant potential environmental benefits in carbon capture and storage (CCS) — carbon reduction, in other words — for the greater Sydney-Newcastle area.
According to a 2005 research report by Geoscience Australia entitled New South Wales-Deep Saline Aquifer Storage Potential, 2 trillion cubic feet of carbon dioxide storage might be feasible in the offshore Sydney Basin.
Baleen is a prime target in the exploration of the large PEP 11 oil and gas permit area.
BPH said partners in the block are discussing using the gas exploration drilling program at Baleen to investigate, as a secondary objective, the potential for CCS.
BPH Energy owns almost 23% of Advent Energy, an unlisted oil and gas company based in Perth, which in turn holds an 85% interest in PEP 11. Fellow Australian explorer Bounty Oil and Gas (ASX: BUY) holds the remaining stake in the 4,576sq km permit.
PEP 11 has been pursued since 1981 when the first 2D seismic survey was carried out. That work showed the project area has similarities to the conventional gas fields of the Bowen Basin in Queensland, with a similar age and depth. The Bowen Basin fields have interbedded coal and gas sands of the Late Permian period corresponding to PEP 11.
Carbon capture can be up to 90% efficient
BPH said CCS is a well proven and established integrated technology that can potentially be 90% efficient when deployed.
“It can capture carbon dioxide emissions, thus preventing the harmful gas from escaping to the atmosphere,” the company added.
BPH Energy views PEP 11 as one of the most significant untested gas plays in Australia. It is adjacent to the Sydney-Newcastle area, the largest domestic gas market in Australia.
The Sydney Basin is a major contributor to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to BPH.
The basin region contains the largest number of carbon dioxide emission sources in Australia, including oil refineries, coke ovens and power stations.
Eleven major stationary sources of anthropogenic — that is, resulting from human activity — carbon dioxide within the Sydney Basin alone contribute 34% of Australia’s total national emissions, BPH said.
Published research has confirmed emissions projections solely from stationary sources are in the order of 24.9 TCF of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
While studies are underway at the Otway Basin in Victoria, that will not deal with the largest source of carbon dioxide in Australia — namely, NSW.