Wood Mackenzie: Australian carbon storage hub a $600 billion opportunity

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According to Wood Mackenzie, Australia's clean energy potential stems from its higher geological CO2 storage capacity than it needs to store emissions from its power generation and industrial sectors from 2030 to 2050. Picture used for illustrative purpose.

Australia could unlock up to $600 billion in revenue by creating a carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry and becoming a storage hub for the Asia-Pacific region, according to Wood Mackenzie.

According to the global energy research agency, Australia’s CCS opportunity is rooted in facilitating the net zero ambitions of other countries. The potential stems from Australia’s higher geological CO2 storage capacity than it needs to store emissions from its power generation and industrial sectors from 2030 to 2050.

Meanwhile, Australia’s key trading partners such as Japan and South Korea have limited opportunities to store all their emissions domestically and are looking for regional storage sites to support their net zero goals, according to Wood Mackenzie.

Commenting on the issue, Stephanie Chiang, Research Analyst for Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage at Wood Mackenzie, said: “US $325 - $385 billion in revenue can be gained from opening all of Australia’s excess storage capacity to regional emitters, assuming a transport and storage fee of US $33–39/tCO2.”

Clear policies and regulations are crucial for the development of the CCS industry, despite the abundance of CO2 storage potential. According to Wood Mackenzie, Australia's competitive edge lies in its regulations for CO2 storage.

Australia passed laws last year permitting the international transport and offshore storage of CO2 and the 2024-25 Federal Budget committed AUS $32.6 million to support regional cooperation and establish the regulatory frameworks needed to enable CO2 imports and exports.

Highlighting the importance of government support for anchor projects and private sector commitment to project execution, Chiang emphasised that Australia needed to provide clearer direction and greater regulatory certainty for project developers and potential customers seeking long-term certainty.

Australian Energy Producers Chief Executive Samantha McCulloch said the economic and emissions reduction opportunities were the reasons the oil and gas industry had been calling for a national CCS roadmap.

“Net zero is not just a challenge, it’s an opportunity – and it’s a huge economic opportunity for Australia,” she said. “CCS can attract new investment, new revenues and new jobs in a new net zero industry. “Australia knows how to be a resources and energy powerhouse and has built a gas industry that is the envy of the world. Now it can become a decarbonisation powerhouse.”


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