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Failure of Chevron's Gorgon Project shows carbon capture is an expensive myth

Media Release
Nick McKim 16 Jan 2021

The failure of Chevron’s Gorgon carbon capture and storage project is a symbol of the total failure of the CCS industry, the Greens have said today, calling for the federal money wasted on the project to be returned.

New reporting shows the project was years behind schedule, over budget, and rapidly slowing down carbon storage rates as the $180bn corporation struggles to figure out how to inject millions of tonnes of gas below the ground.

Since 1999, Australian governments have committed at least $4bn to CCS research and development, despite the fact the technology is orders of magnitude more expensive than zero-carbon renewable projects, and has never been commercially viable. 

Of that $4bn, only $60m has ever made it to a project that has been constructed. All of that has gone to the failed Gorgon project.

“The total failure of Chevron’s massive project shows that viable carbon capture is as much a myth as Gorgon’s namesake,” Acting Leader of the Australian Greens Nick McKim said today.

“The Gorgon project is meant to lock up 80% of the carbon from the neighbouring methane gas plant, but it has consistently failed to hit that target. With injections slowing due to repeated injection issues, it looks like it may never be met.

“This is the only Federally funded CCS project to get to this stage, and it has comprehensively failed. The government should stop with the fiction that carbon capture is an alternative to naturally clean renewables.

“The failure of this project has put another 7 million tonnes of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, worsening the climate crisis.

“What’s worse, thanks to the constant stream of donations from the gas lobby, neither the Federal Liberals or WA Labor are holding it to account for its failure. 

“If Chevron had to clean up their carbon pollution, it would cost up to $100 million in carbon credits on the open market. Due to the failure of the federal safeguard scheme and state inaction to restore penalties for polluters, they’ll get off without even a slap on the wrist.

“Chevron should return the $60m in money the Federal Government has wasted on this project. With a market cap of over $180bn, they’re not struggling - and it could be better put to use on funding Australia’s growing renewable energy industry.

“Successive governments have been throwing money at carbon capture, in the vain hopes it will permit fossil fuels to remain viable. If the government invested this money in renewables, we could have built enough wind energy to power over a million homes.”

 
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