Three Japan energy majors INPEX, JERA and Tokyo Gas have announced their plans to join what may very well become the world’s biggest carbon capture and storage project in Australia.
The total investment is set to reach around $748 million or 100 billion yen.
In its efforts to decarbonize industry and reach net-zero emissions by 2050, Japan has been looking into domestic carbon capture opportunities and has also intensively been exploring storage options abroad due to very limited capacity at home.
With this latest investment, the energy giants in Japan hope to have the carbon emissions capture from their liquefied natural gas (LNG) production buried deep underground in Australia.
The captured CO2 is to be transported from Japan by sea, and several Japanese companies are already advancing the development of CO2 carriers.
The Australian carbon capture project called Barossa is led by local oil and gas company Santos and is expected to have a storage capacity of 10 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Some estimates say it would account for some 25% of the world’s total carbon storage capacity in CCS facilities that are working today.
The project will rely on the offshore gas fields near Darwin that are expected to be depleted within the next several years and can then be used as storage sites.
Located in the northeastern part of the country, the Barossa project is expected to become operational in 2025.
In addition to taking in imported CO2 from Japan and its energy sector, Barossa is set to deal with the carbon dioxide emissions from another gas field in the same area.
Before any final investment decisions can be made, the Japanese companies will first need to evaluate the costs of shipping CO2 to Australia to determine the project’s commercial viability.
If indeed found commercially viable, it is likely that they will be joined by other Japanese firms, as well.