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Train 3 at Western Australia's Gorgon LNG project begins production: Chevron

Sydney — The third train at the $53 billion Chevron-led Gorgon LNG project on Barrow Island off the northwest coast of Western Australia has begun production, Chevron said Tuesday.

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"This is a key milestone for the Gorgon joint venture participants, our workforce, customers, government and all those associated with the project over its lifetime should be extremely proud," Chevron Australia managing director Nigel Hearne said.

"We are committed to being a safe and reliable supplier and look forward to supplying cleaner-burning natural gas for decades to come," he said.

Earlier this month, Chevron announced the third train would be up and running by the end of March, beating previous expectations of a second-quarter 2017 start.

The commencement of the third train comes one year after the facility began production and will see it through to its capacity of 15.6 million mt/year of LNG production.

The project also has a domestic gas plant with the capacity to supply 300 terajoules/day of gas to Western Australia.

Chevron did not say how long it expects it to be for Train 3 to ramp up to full capacity. But Train 2, which began production in October, achieved over 90% of nameplate capacity within a week of beginning production, Chevron said earlier in March.

"We applied the experience gained during the construction, commissioning and early operations of Train 1 to both Trains 2 and 3," Chevron's executive vice president Jay Johnson said at the time.

Typically, LNG plants require six months to ramp up to nameplate capacity, but each plant is different and some plants only take a few weeks, while others can take longer than six months, Platts Analytics said.

Meanwhile, LNG production at Gorgon's Train 2 is temporarily suspended for a planned turnaround to enhance the train's reliability, S&P Global Platts reported on Monday.

The third train at Gorgon could be the last for the facility.

"I can't see in the near term, us investing in a fourth train at Gorgon or a third train at Wheatstone," Business News quoted Hearne as saying last week.

The Wheatstone LNG project in Western Australia is expected to start up around mid-year.

Hearne also said last week that there is unlikely to be another large greenfield LNG development in Western Australia given the unstable fiscal landscape.

The Chevron-operated Gorgon Project is a joint venture between the Australian subsidiaries of Chevron (47.3%), ExxonMobil (25%), Shell (25%), Osaka Gas (1.25%), Tokyo Gas (1%) and JERA (0.417%).

--Nathan Richardson,

--Edited by Irene Tang,