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Weld issues found at Australia's Gorgon LNG Train 1, Chevron says

Sydney — Weld quality issues have been found at Chevron's Gorgon LNG Train 1 in Australia, similar to those which forced an extended downtime at the plant's LNG processing Train 2 last year, a spokesman said via email Jan. 7.

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"Repairs to propane heat exchangers on Gorgon LNG Train 1 are underway," he said.

The issues at Train 1 were discovered during planned inspections of the facility after welding issues were found on Train 2 last year during scheduled maintenance. There were concerns that all three of Gorgon's trains could be affected.

The discovery of the issues could impact the duration of the maintenance schedule. Chevron hasn't said how long the train is anticipated to be down. They have in the past said that "the length of the shutdown will be determined by what is discovered during inspections."

The market impact from the Train 1 issues is likely to be limited as Chevron has previously said it will shut only one train at a time for maintenance. So far there is no indication that this will change.

The spokesman said that the insights gained from Train 2 repairs are contributing to a more effective inspection and repair program. Train 2 went offline for scheduled maintenance on May 23 and the issues were subsequently found in July which saw the downtime extended into November.

"LNG Trains 2 and 3 remain operational and we continue to deliver LNG to customers and gas to the Western Australian domestic market," he said. "Following completion of repairs on Train 1, Train 3 will undergo a similar process," he added.

Gorgon, based in Western Australia, has a nameplate capacity of 15.6 million mt/year, with each of its three trains equal in size at 5.2 million mt/year. It is operated by Chevron Australia and is a joint venture of the Australian subsidiaries of Chevron, which owns 47.3% of the project, ExxonMobil, at 25%, Shell, at 25%, Osaka Gas, at 1.25%, Tokyo Gas, at 1%, and JERA, at 0.417%.