Chevron’s multi-billion dollar effort to bury carbon pollution is failing

Sign reading We Have Carbon Capture Already with arrow pointing to plants
Carbon Capture Protest initiated by Otway Climate Emergency Action Network in 2021. Credit: Matt Hrkac/flickr CC-BY-2.0

CCS technology is a bust in Western Australia; “No credible plan from Chevron to deliver”

The world’s biggest carbon pollution reduction project at Chevron’s Gorgon gas plant is working at just one-third capacity after six years, delivering a setback to the credibility of carbon capture and storage as a means to achieve net-zero emissions.

Chevron was allowed to build its $US54 ($81 billion) billion gas export plant on the condition it was capable of storing all the carbon dioxide from offshore reservoirs and as a minimum “implement all practicable means” to bury at least 80 per cent of the pollutant.

In the 12 months to June 2022 Chevron injected underground just 1.6 million tonnes of reservoir CO2 and vented to the atmosphere 3.4 million tonnes, according to an annual Gorgon environmental report to the WA government released on Sunday.

The shortfall adds both to global warming and the difficulty of Australia reaching the 2030 emissions cuts legislated by the Albanese government.

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Conservation Council of WA executive director Maggie Wood said CO2 injection at Gorgon had been an embarrassing failure for Chevron and proved that carbon capture and storage cannot be relied on to achieve meaningful emission reductions.

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On Sept 19, 2023 ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit in New York City, climate activists gathered for a rally and civil disobedience outside Bank of America Tower in Midtown Manhattan as part of the March to End Fossil Fuels wave of actions resulting in multiple arrests. Activists demand Bank of America to “Defund Climate Chaos and Defend Human Rights” Photo: Erik McGregor (CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

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Illustration by Stephanie McMillan. Used with permission