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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 787 asked in the Legislative Council on 8 August 2019 by Hon Tim Clifford

Minister responding: Hon S.N. Dawson
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 8 August 2019


787. Hon TIM CLIFFORD to the Minister for Environment:

I refer to the Premier's media statement from this morning about the Chevron-led Gorgon natural gas facility on Barrow Island and its greenhouse gas mitigation project having only just begun operating, despite it being part of initial conditions from 2009.

(1) When will the carbon dioxide injection system be fully operational? Could the minister please table the time line and the corresponding estimated emissions reduction from now until the project is fully operational?

(2) How many tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution has been emitted since the Gorgon facility began operations?

(3) Will the state government hold Chevron to account if the company fails again to adequately sequester carbon dioxide emissions?

(4) Will the minister please explain why Chevron applied for a new application for the CO2 injection system two and a half years after production began at Gorgon?

(5) Why did the Premier announce the start of the greenhouse gas mitigation project instead of the Minister for Environment, who I understand has carriage of environmental concerns?


I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.

(1) On 30 July 2019—my birthday, in case anyone wanted to know!—the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation issued an amendment to licence L9102/2017/1 to allow for the operation of the injection infrastructure. The timing and amount of carbon dioxide to be injected is regulated under Ministerial Statement 800, which states that Chevron is required to inject at least 80 per cent of the reservoir carbon dioxide removed during gas processing operations over a five-year rolling average.

(2) Chevron provides an environmental performance report to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation annually, which details the volume of reservoir carbon dioxide removed in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

I ask that this part of the question be put on notice and I will provide the response once the data has been compiled from each of the past annual reports.

(3) The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation monitors Chevron's compliance with ministerial statement and licence conditions and will take any necessary enforcement action in accordance with its compliance and enforcement policy. In order to provide a clearly defined compliance point for the commencement of the injection, in April 2018, I requested that the Environmental Protection Authority undertake an inquiry under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 into condition 26 of Ministerial Statement 800. The EPA will provide me with its report when its inquiry is completed, which is expected to be later this year.

(4) The responsibility to apply for a licence amendment to operate the injection infrastructure lies with Chevron. I understand that until recently, Chevron was experiencing technical issues with commissioning the injection infrastructure. Once these matters were resolved, an application for a licence amendment was submitted to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

(5) As the Gorgon natural gas facility is a proposal of state significance, it was appropriate for Hon Mark McGowan, as Premier and Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade, to announce this project milestone.