Chevron closes first Gorgon LNG train after gas leak

A unit of US energy giant Chevron said it has closed the first train at its Gorgon LNG facility in Western Australia after it found a “minor” gas leak.

“Chevron Australia temporarily suspended production from Gorgon LNG Train 1 on November 16, following the detection of a minor gas leak at the natural gas facility located on Barrow Island,” a Chevron spokesperson told LNG Prime in an emailed statement.

The company has detected the small leak on piping associated with the dehydration unit on the first train during routine operator duties, the spokesperson said.

“As a precautionary measure, Train 1 was shut down in a controlled manner to isolate the area where the leak was identified. We are preparing plans for investigation and repair,” he said.

He said that appropriate safety measures were in place to keep Chevron’s workforce safe.

“As part of routine site engagements, the regulator – DMIRS, is currently visiting Gorgon and has been notified,” the spokesperson said.

Four trains remain in operation in Western Australia

The spokesperson said that the second and third liquefaction units remain operational and Chevron continues to deliver LNG to customers and natural gas to the Western Australian domestic market.

Chevron has earlier this year completed repair works at the first 5.2 mtpa train after it found “weld quality issues” within heat exchangers that closed the plant’s second and third production unit as well.

The firm said in late July it had completed repairing heat exchangers at the third Gorgon LNG train. Since then and prior to this leak, the plant had all three trains online.

Besides Gorgon, Chevron continues to produce LNG at both of its Wheatstone trains where it recently finalized the first major turnaround at the 8.9 mtpa plant near Onslow in Western Australia.

The Gorgon development is one of the world’s largest natural gas projects with a price tag of about $54 billion.

The giant 15.6 mtpa plant liquefies gas coming from two offshore fields – Gorgon and Jansz-Io.

The first LNG cargo departed Barrow Island in March 2016 followed by gas supply to the domestic market in December.

Chevron Australia operates the project with a 47.3% share while ExxonMobil and Shell have a 25% stake, each.

Japan’s Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas, and JERA own the remaining stakes in Gorgon.

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