Chevron to restart first Gorgon LNG train in March

Chevron plans to complete repair works on heat exchangers at the first Gorgon LNG train in Australia in March this year after it will shut down the facility’s third unit for inspections.

The US energy giant said last month it was repairing heat exchangers at the first train after finding similar issues that closed the plant’s second production unit.

To remind, Chevron brought back online the second train at its 15.6 mtpa LNG facility on Barrow Island in November following months of repairs related to “weld quality issues” in propane heat exchangers.

Chevron’s finance chief Pierre Breber told analysts on Friday during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call that “Gorgon Train 1 repairs are nearing completion and we expect the facility to be back online in March.”

“After Train 1 is back online, Train 3 will be taken out of service for the propane vessel inspections, any repairs and the planned turnaround,” he said.

Chevron reported a full-year 2020 loss of $5.5 billion compared with earnings of $2.9 billion in 2019. The firm also posted a loss of $665 million for the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $6.6 billion last year mainly related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wheatstone repairs to cut Q1 LNG production

Besides Gorgon, Chevron is also conducting repairs at its second giant LNG project in Australia, Wheatstone.

The project includes two LNG trains with a combined capacity of 8.9 million metric tons per annum and a domestic gas plant.

“At Wheatstone, production is modestly below capacity while we repair an inlet separator. We do not expect production impacts in the second quarter,” Breber said during the call.

Chevron CEO Michael Wirth said that Wheatstone should be back up to full capacity until a turnaround that begins late third quarter and runs into fourth.

Together with the Gorgon repairs, Chevron will have a “lighter” Australia production this year but a big part of that includes “planned turnaround activity and then there’s an increment related to these repairs,” Wirth said.

In addition, Wirth also said that Gorgon repairs did not affect the firm to provide LNG to customers under its contractual commitments in the fourth quarter.

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