Wheat­stone project de­lay

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Pe­ter Klinger

■ 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”.

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