US energy giant Chevron is expecting to have “strong” operational performance this year at its 15.5 mtpa Gorgon LNG facility in Western Australia, following several train shutdowns during the last two years.
In July 2021, Chevron completed repairing heat exchangers at the third Gorgon LNG train after it found “weld quality issues” that closed the plant’s first and second trains.
After that, it closed the first train in November due to a “minor” gas leak that occurred on piping associated with the dehydration unit. Chevron restarted this unit during the same month.
In December, the firm said it had closed the third train to carry out repairs on piping associated with the dehydration unit, followed by the second unit in January as well.
No more Gorgon turnarounds
Chevron’s CEO Mike Wirth told analysts during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Friday that the company does not have any planned turnarounds at the Gorgon plant in 2022.
Wirth also explained the situation with the dehydration unit.
“During normal rounds, we had an operator that spotted evidence that we had the risk of an operating issue at one of the units in the dehydration train,” he said.
“Nothing that was catastrophic or alarming but a sharp-eyed operator picked up evidence. So something that as we investigated further, we felt it was prudent to take a quick pitstop to address this,” Wirth said.
“And so that’s been completed at two of the three trains, and they’re all same design. So these things tend to show up across all three trains,” he said.
“Strong” operational performance
Wirth said that the last train was undergoing the pitstop “right now.”
Chevron “is also addressing a problem with one of the compressors that was identified, and this was an opportune time to make a couple of changes with that in order to reduce risk going forward,” he said.
“We’ve done our first major turnaround on all three trains now. Those are behind us at Gorgon,” he said.
“And as we complete this last pitstop that’s underway, our expectation is that we’re going to have strong operational performance this year and see more production out of Gorgon than we did in 2021,” Wirth said.
Chevron’s Gorgon development is one of the world’s largest natural gas projects with a price tag of about $54 billion.
Also, the giant 15.6 mtpa plant liquefies gas coming from two offshore fields – Gorgon and Jansz-Io.
Chevron Australia operates the project with a 47.3 percent share while ExxonMobil and Shell have a 25 percent stake, each.
Japan’s Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas, and JERA own the remaining stakes in Gorgon.