Gorgon LNG project to send first cargo
US energy giant Chevron has switched on Australia’s biggest resources project — the $US54 billion Gorgon venture on Barrow Island off the Pilbara coast — to herald in a new era in the country’s gas sector.
More than six years after construction began, Gorgon last week produced first liquefied natural gas volumes and this week expects to wave off a first cargo of LNG, destined for power station customers in Asia.
“We congratulate the Gorgon workforce on this achievement, ” Chevron chief executive John Watson, who is due to visit Perth next month, said.
“This is the result of the collab- oration of hundreds of suppliers and contractors and many tens of thousands of people across the world during the project design and construction phases.”
More than any other project in Australia, Gorgon typified the investment rush that flooded in over the past decade to exploit the country’s oil, gas, iron ore, coal, copper and gold resources.
At its peak, about 10,000 people were working on Gorgon. More than 6000 workers remain on Barrow Island to finish off Gorgon’s construction.
Last week’s long-awaited startup — Chevron had originally planned the first LNG cargo to happen in late 2014 — means the project’s operator and its main partners ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell will start recouping some of their massive investment. It is likely to be years before Gorgon turns a profit and has to start paying petroleum resource rent tax into Commonwealth coffers.
“It’s been a long construction period but Gorgon is the biggest resources project in Australia and I wish Chevron well, ” Premier Colin Barnett said.
“This decade will show that LNG exports from WA have trebled and Gorgon and (Chevron’s other big LNG development) Wheatstone are the big contributors to that.”
Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg heralded the milestone as “an enormous achievement”.
Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenburg on Barrow Island with Chevron Australia managing director Roy Krzywosinski on Monday.