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Industrial Gas Detection

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Gorgon LNG

Monitoring CO2 in world's largest carbon capture facility

Gorgon Reactor Towers

Project Overview

Gorgon LNG ProjectThe Gorgon Project, located in Western Australia, is one of the world’s largest natural gas projects.  The project is a joint venture of Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, Osaka GasTokyo Gas and Chubu Electric Power.

The Gorgon field gas contains 14-16% of naturally occurring Carbon Dioxide (CO2) which must be separated out and safely disposed of before the purified methane can be liquefied.  As an alternative to disposal via atmospheric venting, the Gorgon Joint Venture is investing approximately $2 billion in the design and construction of the world’s largest commercial-scale CO2 injection facility.  This will reduce the project’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 40% or 3.6 million tonnes per year.

The Challenge

Gorgon LNG carbon capture and sequestration process During the liquefaction process, when the natural gas is cooled to -162° C, if CO2 remained in the natural gas stream it would freeze into a solid.

For this reason, the reservoir CO2 is separated from the natural gas stream prior to gas processing and liquefaction. While standard industry practice is to vent the separated CO2 to the atmosphere, the Gorgon Project will inject the reservoir CO2 into the Dupuy Formation beneath Barrow Island. Approximately 120 million tonnes of CO2 will be injected underground over the forty-year life of the project (almost six times more than any other project in the world).  

The CO2 will be captured directly from the gas field before being liquefied and transported by 7km pipeline to the injection site, the Dupuy saline aquifer 2.3 km beneath Barrow Island. It was announced in October 2012, that the project was on track to begin CO2 injection in 2015, with nine injection wells expected to be drilled. The project includes long-term monitoring of the stored CO2 via a number of surveillance wells and repeated seismic surveying.

CO2 Injection Project facilities on Barrow Island are expected to include:

  • Nine CO2 injection wells at three drill centers
  • Two pressure management drill centers
  • Four water production wells
  • Two water injection wells
  • Two reservoir surveillance wells
  • A seven kilometer underground pipeline from the LNG plant site to the drill center
  • Three CO2 compressor modules

The Senscient Solution

With first gas scheduled for 2016 and three CO2 injection compressor trains, early detection of CO2 is a vital component of the project and therefore the Gorgon Joint Venture decided to deploy Senscient ELDS sensors

These sensors can detect CO2 over distances of up to 120 metres enabling rapid detection over a wide area.   It is the only field sensor technology that is CO2 specific, ensuring no false alarms or interference from other gases.  With no consumable parts and a patented, automatic, self-testing facility called SimugasTM, the detectors also provide significant cost savings over conventional fixed point toxic gas detectors.

The Outcome

Senscient Detector Installation

With the installation of Senscient's laser-based sensors, the Gorgon Project is guaranteed zero instances of false gas detection.  The positive financial impact and increased uptime due to no false alarms are just two of the immediate benefits realized.

By partnering with Senscient for CO2 detection, Gorgon will enjoy increased improvement in safety, operations and production over the expected forty-year life of the facility.  Senscient offers Gorgon the following results over the lifetime of the facility:

  • an elimination of false alarms
  • earlier warning for preventative and remedial action
  • a reduction in maintenance requirement  
  • a reduction in the exposure of operations personnel to hazardous locations and gases
  • a reliable gas detection system
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