After more than 7 years, last Gorgon train ready to roll

Peter Milne and Peter WilliamsThe West Australian
Chevron is about to produce LNG from the third and final train of the $US54 billion Gorgon LNG project
Camera IconChevron is about to produce LNG from the third and final train of the $US54 billion Gorgon LNG project

Chevron is about to produce LNG from the third and final train of the $US54 billion Gorgon LNG project and sees the potential for more investment in the offshore Carnarvon Basin.

Executive vice-president upstream Jay Johnson said Chevron would be starting up the train 3 this month after a smooth commissioning process, a little earlier than previously flagged.

First LNG from the train would bring to an end a mammoth 71/2-year construction effort. Production from the Gorgon field started last month adding to the gas from the Io-Jansz field that had been feeding the first two trains.

“At Gorgon, trains 1 and 2 are producing about 230,000 oil equivalent barrels a day of LNG and domestic gas,” Mr Johnson told Wall Street analysts on Tuesday.

Mr Johnson said Chevron had about 50 trillion cubic feet of gas resources in the Carnarvon Basin off the Pilbara and was the biggest owner of liquefaction capacity in WA.

“Over time, we’ll work this advantage and monetise the gas to our equity facilities at Gorgon, Wheatstone and North West Shelf, as well as to other available third-party capacity,” he said.

His call to use third-party capacity echoed calls from both Chevron and Woodside last year for the industry to collaborate and share infrastructure.

Chief executive John Watson said Chevron’s Australian gas investments were one of three legacy assets that would anchor the future of the energy giant.

“A leading gas position in Australia that is now becoming a significant cash generator with resource development opportunities to keep Chevron and industry plants utilised and growing,” he said.

BHP Billiton petroleum boss Steve Pastor also expressed optimism about the Carnarvon Basin, in particular the Scarborough gas field jointly owned with ExxonMobil and Woodside.

Mr Pastor said BHP believed Scarborough had significant value.

“Together with Woodside and Exxon, we’re well positioned to mature development plans there.”

The project has a preferred option of using a floating LNG platform against piping the gas to onshore processing plants.

Mr Pastor said yesterday the partners were well aligned on principles regarding the best way to develop Scarborough.

“It’s too soon to declare,” he said. “We’re glad that we’ve got multiple options.”

He welcomed Woodside’s plan to expand capacity at the Pluto LNG plant near Karratha. “We like that because it increases the opportunities for us to develop Scarborough in a value-maximising way,” he said.

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