Carbon credits and carbon capture and storage (CCS) were the hot topics being backed by the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA), the organisation that represents Australia’s upstream oil and gas industry.

In its submission to the Australian government’s draft carbon capture and storage (CCS) method for the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), APPEA said that CCS has the potential to deliver “step-change” emissions reductions.

Andrew McConville, Chief Executive, APPEA, said that the development of a method for CCS under the ERF is an important way to not only reduce missions but create thousands of jobs in the process.

“This is a chance Australia shouldn’t miss. CCS can help Australia to not only meet, but beat our emissions reduction targets.”, McConville said.

“With scale and experience, the cost of CCS will decrease, creating the potential to deliver competitive, large-scale abatement for existing industries and new industries such as hydrogen and ammonia.”

“Australia has a natural competitive advantage to implement CCS with known high quality, stable geological storage basins, existing infrastructure, world-class technical expertise and regulatory regimes (environment protection, carbon account and reporting, financial services).”

McConville went on to say that CCS is a safe and permanent solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and that a CCS method under the ERF will encourage more projects, create new jobs and support Australian industries, particularly in regional areas.

The ERF is a voluntary scheme that aims to provide incentives for a range of organisations and individuals to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce their emissions.

Under the scheme participants can earn Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) for emissions reductions. For each tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) stored by a project, one ACCU is earned. ACCUs can then be sold either to the government through a carbon abatement contract or in the secondary market.

McConville also said that there are 19 international CCS projects currently underway, with four under construction and at least 30 more projects coming online in the future.

Combined, those projects in operation and currently being constructed have the capacity to capture and permanently store around 40 million tonnes of CO2 every year.