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Monday, 10 November 2008
Page: 81

Senator JOHNSTON (8:34 PM) —In answer to those perfectly legitimate questions, firstly, we have not even begun to properly look for sites. These are sites that have been yielded through oil and gas exploration or through any other means where we have been taking commercial carbon dioxide or where we have been mining generally. Once we start to see a commercial imperative in looking for and drilling up sites, I think you will see that there will be many more sites and they will have a potentially enormous capacity. We know how much oil and gas there is. I am told, but I stand to be corrected, that there is 70 years worth of gas at the current rate of extraction on the North West Shelf. I think the figure changes on an almost daily basis.

Currently, there is a very large number of projects around the world that are using sequestration in one form or another. It is carbon capture and storage that are new here. At Sleipner and Snohvit, in Norway, I believe there is a project going along quite successfully. In Salah, in Algeria, there is a very successful project. And at the Archer Daniels ethanol plant in Illinois there is a successful project that is sequestering carbon dioxide closely adjacent to a town site and the town’s water reservoir.

Ultimately, the proof of this pudding will be in a complete review of the Otway Basin project, which is going along, I think, very successfully. It is sequestering 100,000 tonnes of CO2. The report on that project will probably be available in the mid to latter part of next year. The measurements and all of the information is there. The measuring devices are so sensitive that, when the wind is blowing from the north-east, they can detect carbon dioxide from the city of Melbourne, some 300 kilometres away.

Those are the facts about what is happening with this technology. Bear in mind that this is inaugurating legislation. It is the first time anyone has attempted to create a framework that is user friendly and potentially viable for brown coal energy producers in particular.