Carbon Capture and Storage legislation and regulation

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the process isolating CO2 from stationary emission sources such as power stations, industrial facilities, or natural gas production and injecting it deep underground into suitable geological formations.

The Australian Government developed legislation to enable CCS activities in Commonwealth offshore waters and likewise, the Victorian, Queensland and South Australian governments have developed CCS legislations to enable CCS activities in their jurisdictions. Legislation is currently being developed in New South Wales and Western Australia.

CCS regulatory frameworks are set on a nationally-consistent basis under guiding principles endorsed in 2005 by all Australian jurisdictions — the Regulatory Guiding Principles for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Geological Storage (see Related documents).

The Australian Government provides rights and regulatory oversight for CCS activities by way of greenhouse gas (GHG) transport, injection and storage-related amendments to the Commonwealth offshore petroleum legislation, recognising similarities between the petroleum and CCS industries and the need to manage the potentially complex interactions between them.

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 and supporting regulations facilitate regulation of pipeline transportation and injection and storage of CO2 and potentially other greenhouse gases in geological formations in offshore areas. See Legislation and regulations and Related documents for key references.

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006, which received royal assent on 21 November 2008, allows for the establishment of a regulatory framework for environment and safety requirements and the award of acreage to facilitate the exploration and understanding of potential geological storage formations.

Major features of the legislation include:

  • the provision of exploration, injection and storage rights through a title system similar to that used for petroleum
  • ensuring safe and secure storage through appropriate regulations
  • mechanisms for managing interactions with the petroleum industry
  • site closure and the treatment of long-term liability.

Legislation and regulations

Related documents

Background

  • The Australian Government first released offshore GHG storage assessment acreage in 2009.
  • In 2012, the CarbonNet project in Victoria was awarded a greenhouse gas assessment permit (VIC-GIP-001) for a six year period that covers an area of 4,400 square kilometres off the Gippsland Coast.
  • The 2014 GHG acreage release will be the second release of offshore GHG storage assessment acreage in Australia.

Those who are interested in the process involved in the first release may download the 2009 Guidance notes for applicants. See Related documents above.

Note: The 2009 Guidance notes for applicants do not apply to the 2014 release.

More information

For more information about Australian Government CCS legislation and regulations email LowEmissions@industry.gov.au.

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