A 150-metre high drilling rig has today arrived in Port Phillip Bay before heading along the coast eastwards.
The Noble Tom Prosser rig will soon be drilling in Bass Strait for the CarbonNet project to help prove that the rocks deep under the sea, around eight kilometres from shore, can permanently store carbon dioxide emissions from the nearby Latrobe Valley.
The CarbonNet project has the potential to store the equivalent emissions from one million cars a year over a 25-year period. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has a successful track record in Victoria with 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide safely stored for a decade at the CO2CRC’s Otway research facility.
The rig, which will be viewable from parts of the Port Phillip Bay shoreline, is being unloaded from a large heavy lift vessel. After a brief stay it will then be towed to Bass Strait by tugs to CarbonNet’s Pelican site to start the drilling an offshore appraisal well.
Drilling at the Pelican site in Bass strait is expected to take between 45 and 60 days, subject to fair sea conditions. The rig will be operating approximately 8km offshore and a 500m exclusion zone will be in place for marine safety purposes.
Offshore appraisal wells are used to verify the properties of rock layers below the seabed and are common to the oil and gas sector in Bass Strait, having been used for more than 50 years.
The drilling activity has an approved Environmental Plan and is not targeting gas or oil.
More detail about The CarbonNet Project including a new video explaining the opportunities for CCS in Victoria.