Northern Surat Basin Feasibility Project/Study
Between 2014 and 2018/19, a feasibility study was undertaken in the northern Surat Basin. This activity included advanced in-field technical studies on the geology, water and surface soil, air and groundwater for storage potential.
The following provides a breakdown of the fieldwork undertaken at this location and the community engagement program that supported these activities. The approach and processes taken during this feasibility study have helped inform the program for the southern Surat Basin and the appraisal study, which commenced in 2020. All activity in the northern Surat Basin has now been completed, and no new activity is currently planned at this location.
History of field and community activity in the northern Surat Basin
Soil surveys were undertaken by experts to inform the ongoing surface component of the environmental monitoring program and provide baseline data.
Field acquisition of a 3D seismic survey was undertaken on the Glenhaven property and data analysis has now been completed. This data has helped us better understand the viability of the site geology for potential deep subsurface storage of carbon dioxide.
We completed an independent community baseline survey (with more than 60% response rate) to help us identify the important issues for the local community. This included understanding the current attitudes towards industry activity within the region, attitudes towards low emissions energy options, and climate change. The feedback from the community research helped inform the local engagement program. A 14-page participants' report with the research results was provided to all respondents in January 2016.
Field activities (majority of activity on the Glenhaven property near Wandoan, owned by Glencore)
The Project technical team established scientific equipment in the field for environmental baseline monitoring of the project site (air, surface water and soil). This also included installing equipment in a Wandoan town bore to measure the baseline data from the town water supply source. The team continued to collect this scientific data and process the information as part of the environmental baseline work.
Our local engagement program included working with local representatives. This collaborative engagement approach was designed to shape communication activity that was appropriate and relevant to the Wandoan community about the project and the technical aspects of carbon storage.
The Project technical team continued to implement the baseline near the surface environmental monitoring program for the project site. Data was collected on air, shallow groundwater, and soil vapor. One key component of the baseline work was deploying systems to enable "Process-Based Monitoring" on soil gas. An international expert, from the University of Texas, developed this.
Dr Katherine Romanak
The University of Texas
Dr Katherine Romanak
The University of Texas
Dr. Katherine Romanak is an expert in environmental monitoring at geologic CO2 storage sites and has developed and implemented environmental monitoring programs at several U.S. Dept. of Energy Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership sites. She was the Principal Investigator of the IPAC-CO2 response to alleged leakage at the Kerr Farm near the Weyburn-Midale CO2-EOR oilfield and has developed an innovative “Process-Based” method for assessing potential leakage at CCS sites. Dr. Romanak consulted on the Quest Hydrosphere Biosphere Monitoring Program and is a member of the International Steering Committees for the IEAGHG Monitoring and the Environmental Science Networks. She regularly informs global policy regarding the potential environmental impacts of geological CO2 storage within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and has informed the U.S. Congress on environmental monitoring at geologic CO2 storage sites.
The focus of the engagement over this 12-month period was concentrated on defining the area of engagement i.e., the area of interest and area of influence. This opened the engagement to precipice bore owners at the same depth as the proposed injection (>1km) within 18km of the proposed injection well. Baseline work and data collection to support the water modelling has been a priority. In addition to collecting early baseline data from individual and private precipice bores, data on the town water supply from the Wandoan town bores (including town bore #3) was collected regularly.
Independent experts have acknowledged the importance of establishing a multi-year baseline of natural variations in the environment.
In addition to these ‘directly interested’ stakeholders, CTSCo increased its level of formal engagement and sharing of both technical and community information with the regulator and referral agencies on a regular and ongoing basis.
Comprehensive scientific studies undertaken by leading universities and research institutions were completed in the field. Subject matter experts have extensively analysed the results from the data collected. The results of these studies have informed the development of key technical documents that were prepared for the regulator. This data will help inform future storage programs in other areas of the Surat Basin.
Engaging with the local community of Wandoan, including community influencers and precipice bore users within 18km of the proposed injection well, was a priority for this activity. Direct engagement with local and regional NGOs and industry groups was also undertaken. This also involved meeting with the local state member regularly to discuss community sentiment and interactions.
The Project team has also worked on developing a series of technical communication support tools to assist in addressing the key concerns. This information was used in community and stakeholder presentations, including drop-in sessions, group presentations and one-on-one meetings.
Community and regional NGOs continued to be engaged, along with relevant departmental personnel throughout this phase of the project.