The challenge:

To make NSW CO2 storage ready.

The action:

Coal Innovation NSW is coordinating the NSW CO2 Storage Assessment Project to identify opportunities across the state for the safe and secure geological storage of CO2.

The project:

Integral to any conventional Carbon Capture and Storage project is being able to store carbon dioxide (CO2) deep underground in geological formations permanently. Compared to most other States in Australia, NSW's deep sedimentary basins are virtually unexplored.

This is largely due to early petroleum discoveries in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia attracted petroleum exploration away from NSW.

To address this knowledge gap, Coal Innovation NSW is coordinating the NSW CO2 Storage Assessment Project with the aim of undertaking a state-wide assessment to identify potential storage opportunities in NSW.

Progress so far

Potential CO2 storage sites in NSW have been identified by referencing the commissioned reports of the Sydney Basin Reservoir Prediction Study (September 2007) and Darling Basin Reservoir Prediction Study (June 2007). Datasets used in these studies have provided the most comprehensive collection of available data on these target basins.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has also compiled data from previous petroleum exploration activities and produced data packages containing all technical information critical in the selection of other drilling sites for CO2 storage.

During 2008, preliminary modelling was carried out to identify areas for more detailed analysis and exploration.

Coal Innovation NSW has thus far drilled four stratigraphic wells in the Sydney Basin and two wells in the Darling Basin. Both of these areas were identified as national priorities for pre-competitive exploration by the Carbon Storage Taskforce (2009).

The well programs were based on a need to fill knowledge gaps in storage suitability close to major emissions sources in the Sydney Basin, and to identify the potential for large-scale CO2 storage in the Darling Basin. Stage 1A in the Sydney Basin was completed in 2012, with the results indicating limited CO2 storage prospectivity in the four sites investigated. Stage 1B drilling activities were then undertaken in early 2014 with the aim of investigating the CO2 storage potential and geothermal potential within the Nelyambo (Tiltagoonah-1 well) and Pondie Range (Mena Murtee-1 well) troughs in the northern half of the Darling Basin. Results were encouraging with initial modelling of the new data identifying a prospective storage site within the Pondie Range Trough.

A Stage 2 exploration program is now being planned aimed at verifying and building upon these early results from the Darling Basin.

The outcomes from the NSW CO2 Storage Assessment Project may lead to a future acreage release program by developing pre-competitive data.

For further information
Coal Innovation NSW