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Man who made a fortune getting gas from the ground now has a plan to bury it


Richard Cottee made a name for himself by getting gas out of the ground in Queensland. Now he is investigating a cutting-edge plan to put back the worst of it.

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Cottee heads up gas minor State Gas which has announced a plan to investigate the Buckland Basaltic Sequence, a substantial geological formation in central Queensland, as a site for burying CO2, the gas that is largely responsible for climate change.

State Gas has signed a joint venture with Rockminsolutions for the project. Rockminsolutions recently republished documents showing that a similar process carried out in Iceland showed that more than 95 per cent of the CO2 captured and injected was turned into rock in the subsurface basalt within two years.

Rio Tinto is now looking at a similar project in the US and Cottee said the Queensland project could be a game changer.

The basalt formation is right next to coal and gas projects and “would underpin a leading global hub for negative emissions technology including energy, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and bioenergy while enhancing forestry and agricultural productivity across large tracts of central and southern Queensland”.

“We are of the opinion that we can conservatively sequester half a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide through the Carfix (Iceland) process,” Rockminsolutions said.

“Alternatively, if all of this basaltic material were to be finely crushed and spread on agricultural land, over 15 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide could be drawn down by enhanced chemical weathering while at the same time increasing crop yields and soil fertility.”

The basalt can permanently store carbon dioxide through the formation of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.

Cottee said the benefit of the project was not just the sequestration because the process also create a soil improver and would mean the gas industry would not just be a blot on the landscape.

He said the work needed to be done would take a couple of years and was cutting edge.

“It’s an incredible win-win situation,” he said.

State Gas told investors that if the idea worked it could also lead to hydrogen manufacturing, direct air capture or the creation of a commercial carbon hub in central Queensland.

The joint venture would look at the potential for producing materials for low carbon cement.

“Carbon management is an increasingly pressing need as we move to a net zero world,” Cottee said.

“If you don’t try you never succeed.”








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