Following some local opposition to the PEP11 gas project of New South Wales’ Central Coast region, Aberdeen-based Xodus Group has been commissioned to identify what needs to be done to complete an environmental impact assessment on the first well to be drilled.
The unlisted project operator Advent Energy, which is 23% owned by BPH Energy (ASX: BPH), is fighting back on environmental objections to developing the large gas resource, saying the partners are strong supporters of the Net Zero 2050 plan — which calls for zero carbon emissions by 2050 — and have already proposed carbon capture and storage (CCS), a key clean energy technology.
David Breeze, who is both chairman of Advent Energy and executive editor of BPH, said Xodus Group is a “leading global energy environmental consultancy with a strong track record in the Australian offshore sector where they are subject matter experts in environmental impact assessment and regulatory approvals”.
Advent controls a 4,500sq km offshore area and the first step hinges on what is seen as the key Baleen well, 30km south of Newcastle.
Advent has signed a preliminary well services agreement with Norwegian drilling group Add Energy in preparation for the drilling of Baleen, and that latter company has commissioned Xodus to undertake the preliminary environmental screening assessment for that work.
Mr Breeze said Xodus will be aided by having access to existing environmental information established in 2018 to obtain approval for a 2D seismic survey at the project.
Carbon capture a “game changer”
Xodus will have four targets.
The first is to produce a detailed report of required technical inputs.
This will be followed by a summary of environmental inputs, a proposal for stakeholder consultation and, fourthly, identifying key controls required to manage the work.
Mr Breeze has been assuring opponents of the plan that the company’s CCS technology will benefit NSW as well as meet the targets for net zero emissions in Australia by 2050.
It will do this first by finding gas close to Australia’s biggest domestic energy market and explore opportunities for CCS.
Mr Breeze has said that CCS could be a real “game changer” for NSW and Australia transitioning to a clean energy future.
CCS is being used in Norway and at the Gorgon project in Western Australia, with Exxon Energy recently announcing a $3 billion clean energy plan including CCS.
Advent Energy, the unlisted oil and gas company based in Perth, holds an 85% interest in PEP 11, with Bounty Oil and Gas (ASX: BUY) holding the remaining stake.
Advent’s other listed shareholder is MEC Resources (ASX: MMR).
Labor swings behind gas
It was reported at the weekend that the federal Australian Labor Party (ALP) has now embraced gas as being critical to the country achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
This brings the ALP into line with the policies being pursued by the Coalition government.
Meanwhile, federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor is today expected to release his $50 million plan to set up a Carbon Capture, Use and Storage Development Fund.
This fund will back pilot projects on CCS.