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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

5 December 1999

GREENHOUSE GOES UNDERGROUND


Federal Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill has announced a new Australian research project to investigate whether greenhouse gasses can be deposited underground.

Senator Hill said the Australian Greenhouse Office and the oil and gas industry will collaborate to test the viability of depositing carbon dioxide generated through natural gas production deep under the earth's surface.

"The GEODISC study will explore the environmental, social and economic potential to remove carbon dioxide from natural gas production and put it back into depleted oil and gas reservoirs," he said.

A consortium of the Australian Greenhouse Office and six oil and gas companies -Shell, West Australian Petroleum Pty Limited, Woodside Energy, Chevron, BP Amoco and BHP Petroleum- is funding the research under the auspices of the Australian Petroleum Cooperative Research Centre. The research builds on Australian and international studies and will assess the potential application in Australia for the geological disposal of carbon dioxide.

"The Government will contribute some $200,000 over the next two years to the project, with the possibility of providing additional funds when it can be demonstrated that this technology will provide practical benefits to Australia," Senator Hill said.

"GEODISC offers the Government an opportunity to evaluate the potential for domestic geological disposal of carbon dioxide and knowledge of the likely costs and benefits of this action."

Dr Jim Briggs, of West Australian Petroleum Pty Limited, said that the collaboration was a major step forward in the evolution of greenhouse gas abatement measures.

"First we had the Greenhouse Challenge, to reduce our emission's, now we are entering into a venture with the Government to explore innovative options for preventing greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere," Dr Briggs said.

Studies undertaken by the International Energy Agency indicate that geological disposal of carbon dioxide may be a viable option for the long term disposal of excess carbon dioxide from Australia's liquid natural gas (LNG) production facilities.

5 December 1999

Contacts:
Rod Bruem, Senator Hill's office, 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Carol Bartley, Australian Greenhouse Office, 02 6274 1859 or` 0412 994 800

Commonwealth of Australia