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If Chevron, Exxon and Shell can’t get Gorgon’s carbon capture and storage to work, who can?

May 14, 2022

By Paul Homewood


h/t Dennis Ambler

Back to the drawing board!!





27 April 2022 (IEEFA):

At a cost of more than A$3 billion, Gorgon, the largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in the world has failed to deliver, underperforming its targets for the first five years of operation by about 50% finds a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

Carbon capture technology has historically been used as a method of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) – selling captured CO2 to oil companies to push more oil out of depleted wells, making any initial “carbon capture” negligible. According to the Global CCS Institute, about 73% of carbon capture globally is currently used for EOR projects – called Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS).

In some newer projects like Western Australia’s Gorgon CCS, instead of being sold for EOR, the captured CO2 is sequestered in dedicated geological storage structures. Although Gorgon’s gas plant produced its first LNG cargo in March 2016, the first CO2 injection from its CCS facility occurred in August 2019 — three and a half year late.

“Gorgon CCS failed to reach its pre-defined targets,” says report author LNG/gas analyst Bruce Robertson. “CCS technology has been operating for 50 years. If Chevron and its partners can’t get it to work these past 5 years at Gorgon, it’s not an effective technology for reducing carbon emissions.”

Gorgon recently agreed to buy and surrender credible greenhouse gas offsets recognised by the West Australian Government to offset its target shortfall of 5.23 million tonnes of CO2.

“It has been estimated that it would cost up to US$184 million for Chevron and its partners to offset that shortfall,” says Robertson.

“Rather than continuing with fossil fuels and the technological impracticalities of trying to capture their pollution, governments and investors must address the root cause, and limit fossil production. “Urgent investment in renewable energy and storage technologies is the cheaper and proven pathway going forward.”



Carbon capture may one day work effectively, but we clearly cannot rely on it now.

  1. Broadlands permalink
    May 14, 2022 7:53 pm

    “CCS technology has been operating for 50 years. If Chevron and its partners can’t get it to work these past 5 years at Gorgon, it’s not an effective technology for reducing carbon emissions.”

    In the first place CCS is designed to take CO2 directly out of the air, not just at the source where CO2 is emitted. Secondly, CCS can never be effective to lower the planet’s temperature simply because so much CO2 would be required. To lower the atmospheric burden by one part-per-million would require storage of 7,800 million metric tons. CCS storage globally is now at only 40 million tons annually. And 7.8 billion is just ONE ppm. They should forget about this heavily subsidized and risky scam.

    • Edward J Cook permalink
      May 15, 2022 7:47 pm

      And do that every year.

    • Gordon Hughes permalink
      May 16, 2022 9:49 am

      Unfortunately, there is a fair bit of misunderstanding behind many of these comments. The forms of carbon capture covered by the term CCS or CCUS are not – and never have been – designed to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The concentrations are far too low. The goal always has been to remove CO2 from specific gas streams – i.e. flue gases from coal or gas combustion or other chemical operations. Carbon capture has been used for a long time in the oil & gas industry to remove CO2 present in oil or gas extracted from large reservoirs. Entirely standard technology. The problem is scaling it up to deal with lower concentrations of CO2 in, for example, exhaust gases from gas power plants. The major issue is what is known as parasitic energy consumption – the fuel that is used to run the carbon capture process, particularly to regenerate the chemicals used to capture the CO2.

      However, the big issue with the Gorgon project has been different. They have run into major problems in injecting and storing CO2. Previously everyone had thought that storage in exhausted oil or gas reservoirs would be easy and relatively cheap, though perhaps tricky to guarantee for centuries. What Gorgon has shown is that it may be neither of those. Maybe this was a site-specific problem but it implies a huge amount of uncertainty about the storage part of CCS.

      People should also be careful about getting what they wish with respect to the feasibility and costs of large scale CCS. You may believe that this will discourage the push to achieve NetZero. However, in the current political environment it is likely to lead to a bigger commitment to even more expensive options. As long as the rhetoric and politics pays no attention to costs and the resulting sacrifice in incomes, not having a viable CCS option is simply going to worsen matters.

      • Stephen Bowers permalink
        May 19, 2022 4:00 pm

        I fully endorse your comments on CCS and would add that despite a huge amount of rhetoric the commercial viability of CCS is still very much in its infancy. In order to “inject” the carbon dioxide you need to consider the downhole pressure which will be at least the same as the hydraulic pressure and less that the lithostatic pressure . In simple terms the pressure will be in 100’s of Bars on most reservoir systems. That makes the carbon dixoide supercritical and a liquid (give or take). Hydraulic fracturing of the rock is highly possible which can be good or bad. There is a belief that somehow the carbon dioxide is not produced if the reservoir is producing oil or gas or both. Most end of life wells produce a lot of water and the carbon dioxide will partition into the oil, gas and water, and on the surface you will have to deal with the carbon dioxide. In a non-producing well the situation is a little different BUT there is no guarantee it will stay fixed. Over time there may be reaction with the minerology of the well but the carbon dioxide will partition into the oil, gas and water remaining in the pore spaces and injection could well open up pathways through fracturing that are undesired. I would not like to go into the cost or more important the energy intensity becuase both will be huge.
        As for direct air capture, that really is one for the fairies.

  2. May 14, 2022 7:56 pm

    In a word: “Predictable”!

  3. Sean Galbally permalink
    May 14, 2022 8:12 pm

    Since carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels has a neglible effet on climate nobody should be wasting money trying to capture it. 90% of effective greenhouse gases are water vapour and clouds. carbon dioxide is 0.04% and already saturated. Net Zero only causes abjecr poverty with no positives.

  4. Robert Christopher permalink
    May 14, 2022 8:14 pm

    And there is always Henry’s Law:

    When a bottle of fizzy water is opened, the pressure of the gas above the liquid is released, lowering the partial pressure of Carbon Dioxide above the fizzy water. This will result in the dissolved Carbon Dioxide comes out of solution, initially as bubbles.

    A similar process will occur with the Carbon Dioxide in the sea water when the atmospheric concentration of Carbon Dioxide is reduced: some will come out of the solution and enter the atmosphere, though the process will not produce bubbles as the changes will not be so great.

  5. May 14, 2022 8:20 pm

    Good, revolutionary news:CO2 is not the vilain of adverse climate changes!
    See Lightfoot and Ratzer, Journalof of Basic and Applied Science, 2021.
    The controllers of our climate are the sun, water vapour and cosmic rays.

  6. john cheshire permalink
    May 14, 2022 8:26 pm

    I thought people like Nir Shaviv had demonstrated that CO2 doesn’t create this thing called global warming, rather higher temperatures result in higher CO2 levels.
    And the higher temperatures are the result of solar activity.

    • May 14, 2022 10:03 pm

      Just that, perhaps initially suggested by Henrik Svensmark, the Danish climate visionary.

      Therefore, CO2 is the wrong target, with zero evidence of benefit or influence on climate were it possible to reduce its atmospheric concentration.

      CO2, our friend, which greens and extends vegetation, is at the lower concentration limit for that vital task.

      Expert opinion is that doubling its concentration would scarcely influence climate.

      • Vernon E permalink
        May 15, 2022 7:26 pm

        Maybe not but it would most definitely increase world food producrtion.

  7. May 14, 2022 8:39 pm

    “Urgent investment in renewable energy and storage technologies is the cheaper and proven pathway going forward.”

    Show us any storage technologies that anyone realistic would want to ‘invest’ in.

    • May 14, 2022 9:47 pm

      Just show us any storage technology that’s cheap.

      • David Wojick permalink
        May 15, 2022 2:58 pm

        Indeed as there are no cheap storage technologies. The cost at utility scale is astronomical because so much storage is required.

    • Broadlands permalink
      May 15, 2022 1:30 am

      Show us any technology that can operate without using fossil fuels from oil to transport the needed materials to manufacture renewables and install them. Never mind if it’s cheap.

  8. tomo permalink
    May 14, 2022 8:41 pm

    That’s easy Greenpiece and their mates in THe Australian Green Party!

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 14, 2022 9:23 pm

    Isn’t this what fossil fuel companies ask the trainee to do on their first day? Pop out and capture some carbon and put it in storage, along with the elbow grease, sky hooks, and a long wait. It’s that credible.

  10. petroalbion permalink
    May 14, 2022 11:12 pm

    Just like the Sleipner project in the N Sea, but what both miss is the scale. To reduce atmospheric CO2 by 1 ppm the world would have to CCS 7800 million tons or around 4.5 trillion cubic metres every year, which is more than the annual total natural gas production. Lots of luck with that

  11. May 14, 2022 11:19 pm

    Just like the much vaunted Sleipner CCS in the N sea. And they all fail to grasp the scale of what CCS is trying to do. To reduce atmospheric CO2 by1 ppm, they will need to CCS 7800 million tons, or around 4.5 trillion cubic metres every year. That’s more than last years global natural gas production, lots of luck with that. Howard Dewhirst

    Sent from my iPad


    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      May 17, 2022 11:47 am

      I think that the idea is a rearguard from oil and gas companies. If they can still operate, it is better than being shut down. If government diktat means that consumers have to pay the cost if CCS it is not their prime concern, although it will use up resources far faster than necessary.

  12. May 14, 2022 11:33 pm

    Every positive reaction to the AGW scam is like that, a dumb move-and unaffordably costly. but with no benefit, except to its promoters.

  13. that man permalink
    May 14, 2022 11:53 pm

    Carbon capture is already working effectively, in the form of increased foliage due to increased CO2…

  14. markl permalink
    May 15, 2022 12:42 am

    Another shoot – ready – aim from the environmentalists.

  15. John Hultquist permalink
    May 15, 2022 4:44 am

    There is a stupendous (and silly) waste of money going on.
    I can think of hundreds of better uses than what the Climate Cult supports.

  16. Stephen Lord permalink
    May 15, 2022 5:25 am

    Carbon capture is not needed. CO2 IS PLANT FOOD.

    • May 15, 2022 3:32 pm

      Exactly, thank you. But will the in charge listen, let alone agree?

      “We are in blood. step of too far…”, as said Lady Macbeth.

  17. mwhite permalink
    May 15, 2022 10:57 am

    “How Many Petroleum Products Did You Use Today?”,from%20petroleum%20including%20perfume%2C%20hair%20dye%2C…%20More%20


    Due to insulating and heat resistant properties, plastics and other petroleum-based products are used in electronic components. From your speakers and smartphones to your computers, cameras, and televisions, most electronics have components derived from oil.


    Clothing is commonly made from petroleum-based fibers including acrylic, rayon, vegan leather, polyester, nylon and spandex. Even shoes and purses use petrochemicals for their lightweight, durable, and water resistant properties.

    Sporting Goods

    Many common sports equipment contains some petroleum including basketballs, golf balls and bags, football helmets, surfboards, skis, tennis rackets and fishing rods.

    Health & Beauty Products

    Many of our personal care products are derived from petroleum including perfume, hair dye, cosmetics (lipstick, makeup, foundation, eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner), hand lotion, toothpaste, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, panty hose, combs, shampoo, eyeglasses, and contact lenses.

    Medical Supplies

    Modern health care relies on petroleum products that have few substitutes. Plastics are used in a wide-range of medical devices and petrochemicals are relied on for pharmaceuticals. Products include hospital equipment, IV bags, aspirin, antihistamines, artificial limbs, dentures, hearing aids, heart valves and many more.

    Household Products

    Our homes are full of products that used petroleum in their production. From construction materials such as roofing and housing insulation to linoleum flooring, furniture, appliances and home decor such as pillows, curtains, rugs, and house paint. Even many everyday kitchen items including dishes, cups, non-stick pans, and dish detergent use oil in their creation.

  18. mwhite permalink
    May 15, 2022 11:00 am

    Vegan leather, made from oil.

  19. Devoncamel permalink
    May 15, 2022 7:31 pm

    There is no need to do this so don’t bother.

  20. Mikehig permalink
    May 15, 2022 10:10 pm

    There’s a rather enjoyable irony in the fact that the green movement is busting a gut to close down the fossil fuel industry while relying on that industry to carry out their CCS fantasies.

  21. Mikehig permalink
    May 16, 2022 2:13 pm


    Apologies for going off-topic but I read elsewhere that the DT has a couple of articles that look interesting if you are a DT reader (behind a paywall to me):
    “National Grid slashes gas shipments meant to tackle energy crisis” – The company fears the network will be overwhelmed by deliveries to LNG terminals, the Telegraph reports.
    “Heat pump costs soar because Britain’s radiators are ‘too small’” – Homeowners have received £30,000 bills to replace their central heating system, the Telegraph reports.

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