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Chevron to resume operations at Australia's Gorgon LNG shortly: spokesman

Chevron is to restart production at the Gorgon LNG plant on Barrow Island off Western Australia shortly, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

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"Startup activities are underway on Gorgon Train 1 with production to recommence shortly," a company spokesman said.

"Construction activities continue to progress on Trains 2 and 3, with timing not affected by the work on Train 1."

The facility was unexpectedly shut down and evacuated July 1, after a "minor" gas leak was detected.

Article Continues below...

A spokesman at the time said Chevron planned to undertake minor repair work on the low pressure flare system at the Acid Gas Removal Unit before recommencing production in the following week.

The facility loaded its delayed second cargo by July 3 aboard the LNG carrier Marib Spirit, and it was delivered to the Dapeng LNG terminal in China's southern Guangdong province, according to S&P Global Platts trade flow software cFlow.

Another four cargoes were initially scheduled for loading in July aboard the Asia Excellence on July 11, Beidou Star on July 18, LNG Flora on July 22 and Asia Endeavour on July 30, according to Chevron.

All four vessels are currently idled in the Asia Pacific.

The Gorgon project shipped its first LNG cargo in late March but was then forced to shut down due to a problem with the propane refrigerant circuit.

The company said at the time that the shutdown to enable repairs would last 30 to 60 days, but production only restarted in mid-June.

Prior to the shutdown, Gorgon's Train 1 had ramped up production to around 90,000 b/d of oil equivalent (10,143 mt/d of LNG).

Gorgon's three production trains will each have a capacity of 5.2 million mt/year, with trains 2 and 3 set to start up at six-month intervals.

At a cost of $54 billion, Gorgon is Australia's largest-ever resource development.

The project was approved in 2009 when it was expected to cost $37 billion and start up in 2014, but it suffered major blow-outs due to construction and weather delays.

Chevron's interest in Gorgon is 47.3%. Its partners in the project are ExxonMobil and Shell, each with 25% stakes, and Japanese customers Osaka Gas (1.25%), Tokyo Gas (1%) and Chubu Electric Power (0.417%).

--Abache Abreu,
--Edited by Jonathan Fox,