Wheatstone project delay
■ Chevron is fighting to get its Wheatstone project back on track for its first LNG cargo by the end of next year amid problems linked to the delayed delivery of modules from Malaysia.
Chevron chief executive John Watson said his group was looking at taking the best practice from its projects in Australia and internationally to get the $US29 billion Wheatstone hitting its original start-up schedule of fourth quarter, 2016.
Mr Watson has set a March deadline to wave off the first LNG cargo from the $US54 billion Gorgon project as construction of Australia’s biggest resources development stutters to the finish line.
The progress of the two Australian LNG projects and Chevron’s global strategy to slash costs at a time of low oil and gas prices dominated a briefing Mr Watson gave to investors late on Friday WA time.
He said the US giant was cutting up to 7000 jobs globally, and a similar number of contractors, as part of its cost savings, with a big focus on Australia.
The Pilbara News has previously reported that up to 2000 Chevron jobs could go, the result of cost containment but also reflecting the looming end of Gorgon and Wheatstone construction.
Mr Watson’s comments should end an industry guessing game about when the first of Gorgon’s three 5.2 million tonne a year trains will start producing LNG.
The original start-up target, when Chevron and key partners Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil sanctioned the project in 2009, was late 2014. The date has since been shifted several times.
In tackling the problems with the Wheatstone schedule, Mr Watson said his team was examining construction timing and some of the start-up commissioning work that would need to be done.
Chevron was drawing on initiatives that had been effective at Gorgon and on the east coast.
The Chevron boss revealed an LNG cool-down cargo was scheduled to arrive at Barrow Island in the middle of next month to help Gorgon’s final commissioning stages. Mr Watson said loading of the first LNG export cargo should happen in “early 2016”.