CTSCo Project Not Suitable To Proceed

The Department of Environment, Science and Innovation has determined the CTSCo Surat Basin Carbon Capture and Storage Project is not suitable to proceed due to potential impacts on groundwater resources in the Great Artesian Basin.

As Queensland’s environmental regulator, the department carefully considered the project’s Environmental Impact Statement, which involved a rigorous three-year assessment against strict regulatory requirements in the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019.

The assessment found that the Precipice Sandstone aquifer in the Great Artesian Basin, where the project had proposed to inject captured CO2 for storage, is not a confined aquifer, which is a strict requirement of the regulation.

The assessment also found that CO2 injected into the aquifer could migrate, likely causing irreversible or long-term change to groundwater quality and environmental values if the project were to proceed.

This includes potential increased concentrations of contaminants including chloride, sulphate, salinity, various metals, and metalloids (including lead and arsenic).

Several submissions on the EIS confirmed that groundwater in the Precipice Sandstone holds environmental values, as it is used for agriculture, irrigation, and stock watering.

The department’s final decision on the EIS acknowledges the importance of the Great Artesian Basin to multiple stakeholders and makes it clear that other carbon capture and storage projects will not be viable in the Great Artesian Basin.

The final assessment report for the EIS is available online.


Under section 41 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019 the administering authority must refuse to grant the application if the authority considers:

  1. the waste is not being, or may not be, released entirely within a confined aquifer;
  2. the release of the waste is affecting adversely, or may affect adversely, a surface ecological system; or
  3. the waste is likely to result in a deterioration in the environmental values of the receiving groundwater.

Public notification for the proposed project was open from 5 December 2022 until 23 February 2023. Several submissions were made and considered as part of the assessment process.

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