Chevron’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility at its Gorgon LNG plant in Australia underperformed in 2021 with 2.26 million tons of carbon dioxide injected underground, well below its annual capacity of 4 million tons per year of CO2.
Chevron’s CCS project has been working well below its annual capacity since it was launched in August 2019, three years after the Gorgon LNG project began operations, as the company grappled with new technology and technical problems.
One of the major issues has been the presence of sand that has clogged parts of the CCS project. This prompted Chevron to significantly reduce the amount of CO2 injected underground.
A de-sanding project was initiated to remedy the issue.
Chevron said last year that it will acquire and surrender 5.23 million tons of greenhouse gas offsets to make up for the carbon dioxide injection shortfall.
In addition, the US major will invest A$40 million (US$28.7 million) in lower-carbon projects in Western Australia.
The company has faced criticism for not meeting its obligation to capture and inject at least 80% of emissions into a gas reservoir related to Gorgon.
Last October, Australia set out its plan to achieved net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, although the plan is expected to allow the country to remain one of the world’s top LNG exporters.
Another Missed Target
Gorgon has a 15.6 million ton/yr nameplate LNG export capacity, but has only reached that level of exports once since it began operations in 2016 (see graph).
The reason for the shortfall has been a series of technical troubles — usually common to all three of its liquefaction trains and requiring alternating outages.
Nevertheless, operator Chevron expects stronger production in 2022, although January’s exports of 1.19 million tons were still short of pre-pandemic January 2020 (1.33 million).