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Western Australia closes consultation on draft decarbonisation bill

The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has officially closed a consultation on the creation of a legislative framework for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the state.

DMIRS consulted for 12 weeks on its 2023 Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill (B), which sets out a proposed legislative framework for the transport and geological storage of greenhouse gases in Western Australia, otherwise known as CCS. CCS involves the capture of greenhouse gases from carbon intensive industries, such as mining and oil and gas, and injecting those greenhouse gases back into the ground, with the intent of offsetting the total emissions from those industries.

Renewable energy expert Toby Evans of Pinsent Masons said: “Western Australia has some of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world, driven by its carbon intensive mining and oil and gas industries. Decarbonising the state will require a holistic approach to energy generation, storage and transition and CCS has potential to form an important part of that equation.”

The proposed legislative framework involves amendments to three existing pieces of legislation: the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 (WA), Petroleum Pipelines Act 1969 (WA) and the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982 (WA).

“Momentum is building around CCS and CCUS (carbon capture, use and storage) globally, having an appropriate regulatory framework in place is going to be key to encourage investment. To that end, this draft bill and consultation undertaken by DMIRS is a step in the right direction,” said Evans.

Among other things, the new provisions cover property rights for greenhouse gas storage formations; acreage release; provisions for granting greenhouse gas exploration titles, retention leases and injection licences; and injection, site closure and long-term liability requirements.

DMIRS intends to publish a consolidated response to submissions received. The date that response will be released is currently not known.

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