The Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981 (Sea Dumping Act) regulates the disposal of carbon dioxide (CO2) via carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) at sea.
If you wish to dispose of CO2 via CCS at sea, you will require a sea dumping permit.
To grant a sea dumping permit for this purpose, the minister (or delegate) must be satisfied that the material meets the criteria set out in the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (the London Protocol). This includes the composition of a CO2 stream and any contaminants.
Permits are necessary to ensure that CO2 streams are loaded, transported and sequestered at appropriate offshore sites and that no significant adverse impacts result to the marine environment or human health.
Offshore greenhouse gas (GHG) storage conducted in Commonwealth waters is also regulated under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 and Regulations. For more information on regulating offshore GHG storage and regulatory responsibilities please see:
- the Regulating offshore greenhouse gas storage in Australian Commonwealth waters section of the Department of Industry, Science and Resources website
- the Legislative Overview section of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority website
- the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority website.
Permit application form and fee
We are currently developing an offshore CCS permit application form.
The form will consider Australia’s international obligations under the London Protocol and will reflect criteria from:
- Annex 2 of the London Protocol
- Revised 2012 Specific Guidelines for Assessment of Platforms or Other Man-Made Structures at Sea
- Risk Assessment and Management Framework for CO2 Sequestration in Sub-Seabed Geological Structures.
We are also developing guidance to assist industry to understand whether their offshore CCS projects require a sea dumping permit.
An application permit to dispose of CO2 via offshore CCS will incur a fee as per the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Regulations 1983.
We will consult with industry before we release the application form and guidance document.