Chevron delays restarting second Gorgon LNG train

Chevron has again delayed placing back online the second train at its Gorgon LNG plant in Australia after it found “weld quality issues” within the propane heat exchangers.

The second train has been offline since May 23 after Chevron closed it for planned maintenance.

To remind, the Australian unit of the US energy giant said in September it planned to restart the second unit at its 15.6 mtpa LNG facility on Barrow Island in October.

Chevron said then it need more time to complete the repairs delaying the restart for the second time.

However, Chevron’s finance head Pierre Breber said on Friday during the firm’s earnings call that LNG production at the second train will restart in the second half of November.

Breber said that Chevron has completed the weld repairs verifying them with “non-destructive” testing.

“We’ve also completed pressure testing of the kettles so we’re now in the process of getting back on line. So we’ve started the recommissioning process from the turnaround and the extended turnaround,” he said.

“To take several weeks”

The next steps are to dry out the system after Chevron plans to begin cool down at the second unit.

Breber said Chevron expects this to take several weeks which will put first LNG production in the second half of November.

“In terms of train one, as I said, we expect that to be taken down soon after Train 2 is back online. And then we would inspect Train 1, and depending on whether repairs are required or not, that will determine how long Train 1 is down,” he said.

Following this, Chevron would look into the third unit, Breber added.

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

The 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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