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TotalEnergies plans to capture 1 mln T/yr carbon in PNG megaproject

By Lewis Jackson

SYDNEY, Dec 7 (Reuters) - TotalEnergies plans to bury almost 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year at its planned Papua LNG project, with the carbon capture and storage operation expected to be online from day one of gas production in late 2027.

At the Elk gas field in southern Papua New Guinea (PNG), carbon dioxide (CO2) in the gas reservoir will be pumped back into the ground during production. Once depleted, Elk will be used to store CO2 from the nearby Antelope reservoir.

A TotalEnergies executive said it was one of only a few projects to include carbon capture and storage from day one.

First announced in 2019, the 5.4 million tonnes per year liquefied natural gas (LNG) project is a joint venture between ExxonMobil Corp, Santos Ltd and state-owned Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited.

The first phase of engineering and design work began in July, and a final investment decision is on track for the end of 2023.

TotalEnergies country delegate for Australia and Papua New Jean-Francois Hery said the company planned to sell most of its gas allocation prior to the investment decision and was confident it would succeed.

"There's lots of appetite," Jean-Francois Hery told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference on Tuesday.

While the project's carbon capture mechanism is being marketed to buyers, the gas is not currently being sold with an explicit low-carbon label, he added.

PNG is considered a prized location for delivering LNG to the top global LNG consumers - China, Japan and South Korea.

"We want to get the right price. Markets are going up. If you sell everything too quickly you might lose some premium." (Reporting by Lewis Jackson; Editing by Stephen Coates)