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Ownership Models for Geological Sequestration: A Comparison of the Emergent Regulatory Models in Australia and the United States

April 2014

Citation: ELR 10310

Author: Samantha J. Hepburn

Modern property frameworks are increasingly deployed to support climate change mitigation strategies. The propertization of geological storage formations, utilized for the purpose of carbon capture and storage (CCS), provides a compelling example of this. Pursuant to regulatory changes to the propertization of CCS in the Australian states of Victoria and Queensland, ownership lies with the State, while in the United States, in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming, ownership remains with the private owner. State ownership is preferable as it provides clarity, structure, and certainty for CCS markets. It also removes the difficulties associated with potential CCS projects having to obtain multiple authorizations from private owners, reduces disparity and conflict between subsurface owners, and minimizes future liability. The transformative shift from a disaggregated private resource to a state-owned independent resource must be dealt with carefully so that its impact upon preexisting surface entitlements is clear.

Samantha J. Hepburn is a Professor in the Faculty of Business and Law, Deakin University, Australia.


 

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