The search is on for oil in Great Australian Bight
On Thursday, Karoon Gas Australia announced to the Australian Stock Exchange that it had received approval to search for oil in 17,793 square kilometres of “Australia’s most active and prospective frontier oil exploration province.”
In Karoon’s statement to the ASX, it said that other industry majors — including BP, Statoil and Chevron — have committed AU $1 billion to drilling nine exploration wells in the surrounding permits in the next two years.
Why is the Bight such a hot commodity?
In short, it’s believed that the area could contain significant untapped crude oil reserves. “The Ceduna sub-basin hosts a massive Cretaceous delta system, which Karoon believes has the potential to be a globally significant hydrocarbon province with world-class potential,” the company said.
Why is drilling in the Bight controversial?
BP has been under scrutiny in recent weeks for its own plans to drill the Great Australian Bight. Australia’s industry regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), has requested more information on the oil giant’s drilling proposal. BP’s Bight environmental plans have twice been rejected by NOPSEMA for not meeting necessary regulatory requirements.
Karoon plans to explore the protected Western Eyre Commonwealth Marine Reserve. However, the area is protected by the federal government because it is an important habitat and foraging area for marine mammals, including sperm whales and southern right whales. “Karoon takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and has a history of upholding high standards with respect to meeting its regulatory and social obligations with respect to these matters,” the company’s statement said.
Karoon plans to conduct seismic surveys as part of its exploration plans. This type of testing uses high-powered airgun arrays to direct blasts of air into the ocean. It can purportedly harm marine life and interfere with whales’ communication.
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Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.