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Project Summary

Santos has developed an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) to facilitate the storage and sequestration of measurable quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) in subsurface geological formations, known as carbon storage, within the Cooper Basin in South Australia.

Santos’ exploration and production acreage is centered around Moomba, which is located approximately 800 km north-east of Adelaide. The Moomba processing facility processes oil and natural gas from surrounding fields, made up of more than 1000 producing wells. The oil and gas is piped to Moomba where it is refined and distributed via pipelines to markets in South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, and other domestic and international markets.

The proposed project will initially capture CO2 emissions from the Moomba Gas Plant where there is existing equipment to separate CO2 from sales gas. The captured CO2 will be dehydrated, compressed, and then transmitted via pipelines to suitable locations, where it will be injected into target geological formations deep underground. The CO2 may be stored in hydrocarbon bearing formations, deep saline geological formations or other geological targets and may occur following utilization of the CO2.

Please see the page on opportunities for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and the technology involved in its implementation for further information.

Approvals

All prospective operators, prior to any on-ground activities, must adhere to the three stage approvals process under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, which is outlined in the Guide to the licensing and approvals process for exploration, retention and production activities flowchart.

Stage 1 - Licensing - APPROVAL GRANTED
Stage 2 - SEO Approval - APPROVAL GRANTED
Stage 3 - Activity Approval - NO SUBMISSIONS AT PRESENT

The Licensing Approval process (Stage 1) grants exclusive rights to an area but does not grant rights to undertake on-ground activities.

Santos currently operate 175 production licences covering 7,107 square kilometres within the South Australian section of the Cooper Basin which provide entitlements to conduct gas storage operations.

Further information on the Licensing process is available on the Onshore Licensing page.

All regulated activities conducted under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (PGE Act) must have an approved SEO in place with which they comply, prepared on the basis of an EIR. Santos through consultation developed an EIR and draft SEO to cover their proposed carbon storage activities within the Cooper Basin. Following assessment and consultation with co-regulatory agencies, the Department for Energy and Mining approved and gazetted the SEO on the 22nd April 2021.

Environmental Impact Report - Santos, Carbon Storage, March 2021 Statement of Environmental Objectives - Santos, Carbon Storage, March 2021
 

For further information on the approvals process, including relevant stages and consultation requirements, please see the approval process webpage.

Following the SEO approval and gazettal, in accordance with Part 12 of the PGE Act, the licensee has to proceed to the third and final stage of the approval process prior to commencing on-ground activities. This entails submission of an activity notification in accordance with Regulation 18 or 19, and supporting information to satisfy the requirements of Regulation 20.

DEM’s assessment for Stage 3 approval will include consideration of supporting information provided by the licensee to demonstrate that all design, risk assessment, reservoir modelling, operations and monitoring relating to this activity are in accordance with recognised industry and regulatory standards, and fit for the purpose for achieving the requirements of the final approved SEO objectives.

Of particular note, with respect to environmental obligations under Regulation 20(1)(g), an assessment is required to be provided by the licensee determining whether the proposed activity is covered by an existing and approved SEO, in addition to detailing how the licensee will ensure that the proposed activity will comply with the respective SEO requirements.

Santos will be required to demonstrate permanent storage of the CO2 within the target deep geological formation. This will include the evaluation of site suitability to confirm there is no potential for CO2 migration outside of target formations.

To measure the effectiveness of the CO2 storage, an approved Monitoring, Reporting and Verification Plan will be developed in close consultation with DEM and other co-regulators such as the Environment Protection Authority and the Department for Environment and Water, and made available for public viewing.