Australia announces new areas for offshore carbon capture storage exploration

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The Federal Government has launched the 2023 Offshore Greenhouse Gas Storage Acreage Release, outlining new areas for exploration to help Australia lower emissions and meet its net zero goals. 

The acreage release includes 10 areas across seven basins to explore for carbon capture and storage (CCS) sites in Commonwealth waters off Western Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania, which already host a variety of offshore exploration and production activities. 

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King said the areas were selected for their geology and storage potential. They were also shaped to minimise impacts on other marine users and the marine environment, in line with a public consultation. 

“The Australian Government is committed to lowering emissions and helping the world to achieve net zero emissions by 2050,” Minister King said. “Both the Climate Change Authority and the International Energy Agency have said CCS will be an important technology to help the world achieve its climate goals.”

The Climate Change Authority has emphasised the need for strong and urgent emissions cuts and carbon sequestration in order to achieve global net zero goals by mid-century. 

According to CSIRO, carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) is among the suite of technologies that will help lower atmospheric emissions from Australia’s energy system. 

The International Energy Agency said CCS and CCUS will play crucial roles in helping achieve net zero by 2050, particularly in hard-to-abate industrial sectors. 

The Australian government has allocated $12 million in the May 2023-24 Budget to look into the environmental management regime and examine ways to improve regulations to support offshore CCS projects. 

For more information about the 2023 Offshore Greenhouse Gas Storage Acreage Release, visit the Department of Industry, Science, and Resources’ website