Geological Society of Australia
Victoria Division

General Meeting
Thursday 28th July at 6:15 p.m.
Fritz Loewe Theatre, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne
Talk will be proceeded by drinks from 5:30 pm in the 4th floor tearoom, cost $2.

Moving CCS forward: Bridging the industrial divide
Learnings from the CO2CRC Otway Project, Australia

Dr Matthias Raab
CO2CRC Ltd, Chief Operating Officer

The CO2CRC Otway Project is Australia’s first demonstration of deep geological storage of carbon dioxide. The project was developed more than a decade ago to demonstrate geological carbon storage at a commercially significant scale, which means the injection, monitoring and verification of CO2 in a depleted gas field and deep saline aquifer. So far 65,000 tonnes of CO2 have been injected into a depleted gas field (2009, 2,000m depth) and 15,000 tonnes into a saline aquifer (2016, 1,500m depth).

Through its unique access to a depleted reservoir as well as multiple deep reservoir/seal pairs in saline formations the CO2CRC Otway site provides unmatched opportunities for benchmarking and improving monitoring concepts and technologies from the deep subsurface to the atmosphere. The site has been characterised in incredible detail and tested for COstorage in both depleted gas fields and saline formations. So far, approximately $90M were invested into research and existing infrastructure over the last ten years. Another key enabler for the CO2CRC Otway project is the readily available source of CO2 from a natural reservoir for current and future research.

Deemed as a project of national significance, all operations at the CO2CRC Otway Project are strictly regulated under Victorian legislation and have to follow best practices of the oilfield industry. CO2CRC has to continuously prove the performance of its operations including drilling, injections and compliance monitoring against a multitude of legislative requirements.

In general, monitoring and verification programs rely strongly on repetitive, surface-based surveillance (such as conventional reflection seismic) and are likely to be costly and can face geographical, societal and/or economic impediments. A key challenge for any operator who has to ensure compliance is that monitoring technologies may simply be unable to yield sufficient resolution or accuracy to satisfy regulatory, environmental and societal expectations.

CO2CRC’s monitoring and verification program requires measuring the CO2 plume behaviour with wide spatial coverage, good spatial resolution and high temporal frequency, and subsequently requires surveys in regular intervals over years of operation and periods following injections.

Through its activities CO2CRC continues to successfully demonstrate its capability to undertake the necessary modelling, monitoring and other technical aspects that are required to effectively ensure compliance under the relevant legal obligations for onshore underground CO2 storage in Australia.

By ongoing testing technologies and workflows at the CO2CRC Otway Site, CO2CRC has demonstrated how very strong research in the context of scientific, regulatory and environmental parameters enables project operators, regulators and the general public to gain confidence in successful operations of an onshore CO2 storage project.

This presentation will outline considerations of climate politics, energy security, policy settings, legislation, public perception, natural gas storage, and how the CO2CRC Otway Project and its globally unique setting continues to be one of the world’s few sites where ground breaking research assists an emerging industry to move forward.

Speaker bio...

Dr Matthias Raab, Chief Operating Officer CO2CRC Ltd, is an experienced manager with international credentials in successful, high profile and complex projects in industry and academia.

As COO Dr Raab has strategic and operational responsibility for CO2CRC’s research facilities, research programs and the delivery of major research and infrastructure projects. Matthias manages a group of Senior Program, Project and Operations Managers and provides leadership to CO2CRC’s strategic planning and implements new strategic initiatives.

Dr Raab’s overall portfolio includes the $45M research program in Carbon Capture and Geological Carbon Storage, the CO2CRC Otway Field Facility, the Stage 3 Expansion of the Otway Project and the $51.6M infrastructure grant awarded to CO2CRC under the Education Investment Fund.

In previous roles Matthias managed Australia’s largest 2D marine seismic survey in Bass Straight, led the Victorian CCS initiative exploring for industrial scale CO2 storage in the Gippsland Basin and was a Project Manager building and documenting the border between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen.

2016 Vallance Medal 

Tom Darragh

The GSA’s Earth Sciences History Group 2016 Vallance Medal has been awarded to Tom Darragh, who will be presented the medal at the July monthly GSAV meeting.

The objective of the award is to recognise people who have made a significant contribution to researching, recording, investigating, documenting and/or publishing about people, places or events of historical importance to the geological sciences in Australia/Australasia. 

The medal recognises Tom’s contribution as a researcher in the history of geology of Australia especially Victoria and his special interest in the biographies of Australian geologists, history of palaeontology, early geological maps, institutional history and the geological contribution of German scientists in Australia.  His recent work on the translation, editing and commentary on the Leichhardt diaries was singled out for special praise. The award also takes into account his enlistment by the Australian Dictionary of Biography to undertake a large number of biographical entries on their behalf.

Congratulations Tom!

Student sponsorship

Toni Cox
The University of Melbourne

The travel scholarship awarded by the Victorian Division of the Geological Society of Australia allowed me to travel to Auckland, New Zealand, and successfully present my Ph.D. work at the 4th New Zealand Microbial Ecology Consortium (NZMEC 4.0). NZMEC 4.0 is a diverse consortium for microbial ecologists and runs annually. This allowed me to network with a range of microbiologists both within and outside of my field.

The consortium (18-19th February) featured keynote seminars from prestigious New Zealand, Australian and US researchers, including Professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawaii, Edward DeLong. Early Career Researchers (including myself) were also given the opportunity to present their research to a diverse group of people. I presented a brief summary of a manuscript currently under review in Environmental Microbiology, titled “A deep sulfate-reducing biosphere stimulated by deep seawater hydrogeologic circulation through oceanic crust”. I enjoyed presenting my research and discussing its limitations and potential future work. People were especially interested to hear we discovered an isolated subseafloor oasis of sulfate-respiring bacteria, 4 kms below sea level, off the coast of Japan.

I am grateful to the Geological Society of Australia, Victoria Division for their assistance.

Last month's Howitt Lecture

Dr Erin Matchan from the School of Earth Sciences presented on 'The age of Victoria's volcanoes' at the annual Howitt Lecture on the 23 June 2016. This joint GSA Victoria Division and The Royal Society of Victoria meeting coincided with the best that Melbourne winter had to offer (a cold dark evening with heavy rain), which didn't stop the crowds coming out to hear Erin's story.

Erin provided an overview of the eruption history of the 'Newer Volcanic Province', including a summary of possible future eruptions in the area. She highlighted the importance of dating to identify trends that could indicate where we could expect these future eruptions to occur. Erin also described the different techniques that have been used to date volcanoes - both relative dating methods and direct/absolute dating methods. The latter included K-Ar and Ar-Ar dating techniques used on basalts, the challenges faced in using the Ar-Ar technique to date young basalts, and the importance of precise measurements, which have been a technical limitation.

We heard about an exciting time in noble gas mass spectrometry, with the arrival at The University of Melbourne of the Argus-6 machine, installed in 2011. This has lead to some really interesting studies demonstrating a dramatic increase in age precision, enabling the dating of basalt flows as young as 35,000 years. Areas of future research included the particularly novel use of megacrysts, and continuing efforts to date young basalt flows. Erin gave a clear and entertaining overview of this interesting and important area of geoscience for society.

by Adele Seymon

Books Available

A selection of GSA publications will be available at the July meeting. They cover a range of topics. Free to a good home!

Forthcoming events

Unless otherwise noted, all 2016 talks will be held at the Fritz Loewe Theatre, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne.

July 28th: Monthly meeting:
Dr Matthias Raab: CO2CRC Otway Project

August 25th: Monthly meeting:
Students Night: Michael Sephton, Catherine Wheller, Tzu-Ying Kuo and Jeremy Lee.

September 29th: Selwyn Symposium
Theme: Gondwana. More information forthcoming

Student Scholarships

The GSAV are pleased to offer scholarships for honours and postgraduate students in geological sciences for assistance with travel costs associated with attending conferences (fieldwork excluded). The number and value of the scholarships awarded each year is made at the discretion of the GSA Victoria committee. Up to $500 for travel within Australia and between Australia and New Zealand and $700 for travel elsewhere is available, paid half before and half after the conference. More information, including the eligibility criteria and application form, is available at

Contributions to The Victorian Geologist

If there are any events, happenings, news, or views that would be of interest to the membership, please send your details and information to Kieran Iles at
Newsletter deadline: First Friday of the month, except for December and January.

Contribute to TAG

It is member contributions which make TAG (The Australian Geologist) a member magazine – please keep the contributions coming and assist with informing all of the membership (not just your Division) about your activities.

Please send your news to:

About the GSA Victoria Division

General information about the Geological Society of Australia and GSA Victoria Division can be found at and
Contact details for the GSAV Committee can be found at

Copyright © 2016 GSA Victoria, All rights reserved.

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