Engineering considerations with carbon capture and storage

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) have been identified as an essential part of any decarbonisation or net-zero emissions strategy. For many nations, Australia included, these technologies are key to meeting Paris Agreement obligations.

CCS complements other emission-reduction strategies by addressing unavoidable emissions, such as those from aviation, manufacturing, and critical energy production.


Proven worldwide and at an industrial scale, CCS is a reliable and traceable way of storing CO2 long-term; current geoscience research indicates that carbon can be safely sequestered underground for periods of up to 10,000 years.

Mitigating emissions in Australia

Pilot studies, viability projects, and CCS trials have been occurring in Australia for over 20 years. Many of these are undertaken by privately held companies in collaboration with government bodies including Geoscience Australia and its parent department, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER).

In addition, Australia is home to CO2CRC, a non-profit research organisation that owns the Otway International Test Centre, and the only Australian organisation to have demonstrated end-to-end CCS.

Leading energy companies such as Santos are CO2CRC members and partners. Santos recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the non-profit and other international groups to support and collaborate in the development of Australian CCS facilities.

Fyfe’s ongoing involvement in CCS projects

Fyfe is proud to assist Santos with its CCS projects. We have been working with the energy company since its 2010 concept CCS study that involved taking CO2 from Moomba and injecting it at Tirrawarra. In 2018, Fyfe was engaged by Santos to complete a concept design for a CCS pipeline transporting CO2 from Moomba to Gidgealpa, and in 2019, Fyfe experts replicated this design several times.

After further assessment by Santos in 2019 and 2020, the reinjection location was adjusted to the Marabooka and Strzelecki fields. Fyfe also handled the concept design for this CO2 pipeline, which Santos progressed to the front-end engineering and design (FEED) and detailed design stages in 2020 and 2021.

At the concept design stage, Fyfe’s CO2 and pipeline experts handled a range of responsibilities, including:

  • Desk top route selection
  • Material selection
  • Pipeline sizing
  • Cathodic protection
  • Register of key project risks and opportunities
  • Electrical, instrumentation and control
  • Workshops
  • Detailed design estimate
  • Decision sheet for material selection
  • Desktop route selection (DRS)
  • Pipeline sizing
  • Mid-line valve stations and vent facilities
  • End of line pipeline facilities
  • Estimate Class III material
  • Level 2 project schedule


In the later FEED and detailed design stages, Fyfe pipeline were retained by Santos to provide ongoing technical support to the company’s engineering design team. We have also assisted several other energy companies with CO2 pipeline services.

Fyfe’s experience with CCS projects, from conception to late-stage design and beyond, has given us a unique insight into carbon storage and its challenges. With the rapid adoption of CCS in Australia and worldwide, we anticipate that these challenges will be key considerations in any project. 

Technical engineering considerations in CCS projects

When Fyfe experts assess carbon capture and storage projects for viability, they must consider a range of criteria. For instance, professional bodies within the Australian pipeline industry, including Future Fuels CRC and Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA), have developed guides and frameworks for dense-phase CO2 pipeline design, and there are also well-developed international standards for these pipelines. However, as work in CCS ramps up, these standards continue to evolve.


Design considerations include:

  • CO2 process properties (temperature, density, phase) create some challenges for process modelling
  • Dehydration / how dry the CO2 needs to be to prevent pipeline corrosion is a major consideration
  • Potential contaminants in the CO2 stream need to be considered
  • Fracture control / arrest is a driving consideration for the pipe thickness and material grade (more important that pressure)
  • Fracture arrest can be achieved with high toughness steels with adequate wall thickness
  • Control of depressurisation is required to manage minimum temperatures
  • Vent design is important with some potential advantages draining liquid CO2 rather than venting CO2 gas.
The future of CCS in Australia

The International Energy Agency’s goal to store six gigatonnes (six billion tonnes) of CO2 per year by 2050 will require swift movement from governments and private organisations alike.

Australia is responding with federal funding supporting the development and commercialisation of the CCS industry. So far, $50.3 million has been allocated to accelerate the development of crucial gas infrastructure, and a further $20 million has been allocated for activities that align with stage three (project development and commercialisation) of the CarbonNet project.

Ian Davies, chairman of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA), notes that Australia could be a leading CCS player on the world stage, not only by decarbonising our own economy but by helping customer nations to decarbonise. Davies pinpoints Australia’s carbon-storage resources as its competitive edge.

The Gorgon LNG project in Western Australia is the world’s largest CCS facility, holding six million tonnes of CO2 since it began operations in 2019, while Santos’ Moomba CCS project in South Australia is on track to capture and store 1.7 million tonnes of CO2.

CCS also facilitate the delivery of hydrogen made from natural gas and help deliver new hydrogen supplies to the market. With the commercialisation of CCS, we expect to see significant movement in this space.

To discuss how Fyfe can help on any CCS project, please reach out to our team.