Integrated New Energy Businesses
Natural Hydrogen Exploration and Development (2H RESOURCES, BURU ENERGY 100%)
Hydrogen from geological sources (natural hydrogen, gold or white hydrogen) is gaining an increasing share of exploration investment and activity globally. If found in commercially exploitable quantities, this naturally produced resource will be cost competitive against all forms of industrially manufactured hydrogen and could potentially support the energy transition as a low to no-carbon energy source.
2H Resources was established to apply the geological knowledge of its supporting shareholder Buru Energy in the exploration and appraisal of natural hydrogen and associated helium accumulations.
2H Resources has established an exploration portfolio in South Australia where the regulatory framework is in place for natural hydrogen exploration and is actively evaluating other areas where there is potential for natural hydrogen occurrences.
During the year, 2H Resources was confirmed as the preferred applicant for the granting of six South Australian Petroleum Exploration Licences (PEL) for hydrogen, and two Gas Storage Exploration Licences. The granting of the hydrogen exploration and gas storage licences to 2H Resources is subject to a valid land access agreement executed in accordance with the requirements of the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993 over any area where Native Title interests exist.
Buru Energy’s expertise in subsurface geology and exploration provides the Company with competitive advantage to pursue natural hydrogen exploration via its wholly owned 2H Resources subsidiary.
Accordingly, 2H Resources has commenced engagement with Native Title groups covering the application areas as a precursor to the formal granting of the licences, and in parallel is conducting further geological and geophysical analysis of the licence application areas to improve the understanding of hydrogen trap mechanisms and prospectivity. Once the exploration licences are granted, 2H Resources plans to undertake on-ground initial prospecting work on these permits using in-house capabilities and technology, including hydrogen sensing equipment.
The presence of natural hydrogen was also confirmed in Buru Energy’s Canning Basin permits during drilling operations at Currajong 1 (2021), detecting a zone of up to 6% hydrogen in mudgas over an interval of approximately six metres from 2,014 metres measured depth, providing an impetus for follow up in the Basin.
More details on natural hydrogen and the activities of 2H Resources are available on the 2H Resources website at 2HResources.com.
Carbon Capture and Storage (GEOVAULT, BURU ENERGY 100%)
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) before it enters the atmosphere, transporting it, and storing it in underground geological formations.
CCS complements other emission reduction technologies by addressing emissions that currently cannot be avoided, including CO2 emissions from industrial processes. With the proposed federal government reforms to the safeguard mechanism, including a proposed cap on the price of carbon, there is a clear business case for CCS to help meet Australia’s decarbonisation goals.
Since early 2021 Buru has been actively progressing CCS technical and commercial activities through its GeoVault subsidiary, focusing its efforts on geological greenhouse gas (GHG) storage in the onshore Canning and Carnarvon Basins of Western Australia. The technical and operational skills required for the success of the GeoVault business are closely aligned to Buru’s core business.
Buru Energy recognises that CCS is a key component of any realisable path to net zero by 2050. Via its wholly owned subsidiary GeoVault, the Company is leveraging its existing onshore petroleum acreage and in-house capabilities to explore and develop CCS potential. This is underpinned by the knowledge gained from a long history of operating exploration and production assets in Western Australia.
In April 2022, Buru Energy was notified by the previous Commonwealth government that GeoVault was a successful applicant for a $7 million Commonwealth Government Grant to support a feasibility study of GHG sequestration in the onshore Carnarvon Basin focused on exploration permit EP 510. The grant was part of a major Commonwealth Government initiative to facilitate the development of GHG storage hubs in Western Australia.
The Federal Budget handed down in October 2022 severely curtailed financial support for CCS and other low emissions technology programs, and as such the Commonwealth Grant Program under which the grant had been offered to GeoVault was cancelled.
Notwithstanding, work is continuing with Energy Resources Limited (EnRes, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mineral Resources Limited) to technically mature the CCS potential of the onshore Carnarvon area in and around the Joint Venture’s EP 510 permit.
GeoVault personnel have also been actively engaged with Government to ensure appropriate legislative frameworks are in place for onshore GHG geological storage projects. GeoVault is also continuing with detailed technical reviews including capacity assessments to determine the GHG storage potential of areas in the Canning Basin held by Buru Energy.
More details on CCS and the activities of GeoVault are available on the GeoVault website at GeoVault.com.au.
Battery Minerals Exploration (BATTMIN, BURU ENERGY 50%)
Battmin, a wholly owned subsidiary of Buru, was initially formed to apply the geological knowledge that Buru had acquired in its extensive petroleum exploration activity in the Canning Basin to the exploration for minerals formed by similar processes, and often in association with, oil and gas accumulations.
Battmin’s activities are currently focused on its joint venture with Sipa Resources Limited (“Sipa”) where during the year, the joint venture successfully completed a drilling program of three diamond core holes targeting zinc/lead mineralisation on the Barbwire Terrace in the central Canning Basin, and commenced assaying of the cores.
This activity was co-funded by the Western Australian government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme, with up to $180,000 provided to the JV towards drilling costs.
Base metal sulphides were visually observed in all three holes within large thicknesses of variably altered Pillara Limestone validating the geological concept with further evaluation and possible drilling planned. Subsequent to the end of the reporting period Sipa announced on 18th January 2023 that the assay results from the three diamond drill holes were not in line with initial observations, with the results returning low levels of zinc and lead. The JV will conduct a detailed review of the assay results prior to finalising its plans for any potential follow-up exploration at the project but is encouraged that the results validate the geological concept that the carbonate sections are fertile for lead and zinc mineralisation.