Santos Seeks Sustainable Oil Development In Alaska

Santos Seeks Sustainable Oil Development In Alaska - Carbon Herald

Australian oil giant Santos is making a splash in Alaska with the Pikka project, claiming it will be a game-changer – an “environmentally friendly” oil field. 

Santos, a heavyweight in the Australian oil and gas scene, is a new player on the Alaskan frontier. 

The company’s Pikka project on the North Slope has the potential to revolutionize the state’s oil industry.

Beyond Offsets: A Multi-pronged Approach to Decarbonization

Santos is moving beyond the industry standard of carbon offsets, where companies invest in emission-reduction projects elsewhere to balance their own emissions. Their plan incorporates two cutting-edge strategies:

  • Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Santos aims to trap emissions directly from North Slope power plants and drilling sites. They’re also exploring “direct air capture,” a new technology that essentially sucks carbon dioxide out of the thin air. This captured carbon would then be securely stored underground.
  • Offsets: Santos recognizes the role of offsets in achieving net-zero emissions. They might invest in projects like planting trees (reforestation) or renewable energy initiatives to compensate for the emissions produced when the extracted oil is burned.

Santos’ commitment to reducing carbon emissions stands in stark contrast to the practices of established Alaskan oil companies. 

This could influence future regulations and public opinion within the state. The potential benefits are twofold: creating jobs in new green technologies and ensuring a more sustainable long-term future for Alaska’s oil industry.

Relevant: DOE Study To Assess Shipping Carbon Emissions From Japan For Storage In Alaska

Santos’ strategies are in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, and their success could inspire other oil companies to follow suit. 

However, questions remain about the large-scale effectiveness of CCS and offsets as solutions for major emissions reduction.

Concerns exist regarding the affordability and technical feasibility of CCS and direct air capture (DAC).

Relevant: Santos Secures New Funding For Moomba CCS Project 

Environmental groups worry these technologies could be a stalling tactic, delaying the inevitable shift away from fossil fuels altogether. 

Transparency and accountability are key to addressing concerns about “greenwashing,” where companies create a misleading impression of being environmentally responsible.

Santos’ innovative approach to decarbonizing Alaska is a significant step forward. While challenges remain, their efforts offer promise for positive impacts on both a local and global scale.

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