Chevron has announced that operation of the controversial and delayed equipment to inject carbon pollution from its liquified natural gas (LNG) plant underground on Barrow Island has finally commenced, two-and-a-half years after the Gorgon LNG project started operating. Once fully operational, Chevron says the geosequestration facility will reduce the pollution from Gorgon by 40%.
Conservation groups are calling for the company to meet its approval obligations to provide alternative offsets for the additional pollution that has been released while the geosequestration facility has been delayed, and to further offset the remaining pollution from the facility that cannot be pumped underground.
Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) Director Piers Verstegen said the geosequestration was not a silver bullet, and even if successful, the Gorgon facility would remain one of WA’s biggest polluters.
“Today’s announcement that geosequestration has finally commenced, two-and-a-half years too late, is a step forward - but it does not solve Chevron’s pollution problem and it does not provide a silver bullet for the LNG industry.
“It is yet to be seen if this facility will work successfully in the long term. If it does succeed, it will still see the Gorgon LNG project release nearly 6 million tonnes of pollution every year.
“It appears that Chevron has intentionally delayed the starting of the geosequestration facility, resulting in millions of tonnes of unnecessary carbon pollution. Chevron must now provide alternative offsets for the extra pollution that this delay has caused, as well as the remaining pollution from the plant.
“The Gorgon facility will still release around 6 million tonnes of carbon pollution every year. Chevron must offset this pollution by investing in proven industries such as tree planting, carbon farming, and renewable energy, which will deliver jobs as well as environmental benefits.
“No other LNG project is proposing to implement geosequestration in WA, so this is unlikely to be a durable solution for WA’s biggest pollution sources. Opportunities to run existing LNG plants on renewable energy and offset emissions through tree planting and carbon farming are likely to be more cost effective. These other forms of offsets potentially provide a lifeline to existing LNG projects - yet the LNG industry, including Chevron, continues to resist and oppose these solutions.
“Internationally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that gas production and use has to decline in the medium term in order to meet the carbon pollution goals set out under the Paris Agreement, and there has recently been calls for a global moratorium on LNG production due to climate impacts that are as bad, or worse than coal expansion.”