Chevron Australia’s Wheatstone and Gorgon Projects
Chevron officially made its debut in Western Australia more than 60 years ago in early 1952. The company quickly became an integral component of the pioneer natural gas exploration team that initially realized the potential lying beneath the surface of Barrow Island. Over the years, the team discovered the possibilities spread well beyond the shores of Barrow. These findings quickly lead to the inauguration of the two largest natural gas projects in Australia’s history.
The Gorgon Gas Project
Not only is Gorgon among the most predominant natural gas ventures the world over; it is the most extensive undertaking of this nature on record in Australia. Drawing from a supply spanning 130 to 220 kilometers off the Western Australian coast, this development is expected to bring an estimated 300 terajoules of domestic gas per day to the western portion of the nation. Aside from this leg of the project, a 15.6 MTPA supply of liquefied natural gas will be available for the international market via a second plant under construction on Barrow Island.
Original project models implemented 18 subsea wells, and all of those are finished at this point; in addition, Train 1 modules have been completed in their entirety while the bulk of Train 2 modules are progressing as scheduled. LNG tanks are already well equipped for storage. Shipments of LNG from Gorgon will be carried out by way of a 2.1 kilometer long jetty, which is also nearing completion. Pipelines for the domestic gas plant run from the mainland through this jetty to the plant itself. Inaugural members of the operational team at this facility have already been assigned to their posts and are getting primary systems underway.
With every project of this type comes a great deal of concern from authorities and local residents alike. Addressing this concern, the Australian government has directed funding of $60 million toward the Gorgon Carbon Dioxide Injection Project, an underground CO2 reservoir unit. Dubbed the Dupuy Formation, this 2 kilometer deep unit will reduce the project’s emissions by an estimated 40 percent. This innovation landed Chevron Australia the WA Division of Engineers Australia’s 2010 environmental category award.
Gorgon Project Development Director, Scott Young
Appointed Development Director of the Gorgon Project in 2007, Scott Young is no stranger to this type of venture. Following receipt of his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma in the early 70’s, Young began his career with the New Orleans Division of Chevron. From Acting General Manager of the Facilities Engineering Products and Services Department to Managing Chevron’s Genesis Project deep in the Gulf of Mexico, his 40 years of experience served to prepare him well for Gorgon’s progression.
The Wheatstone Project
Construction of the Wheatstone LNG Project began in December of 2011 and, like that of the facilities at Gorgon, is proceeding on schedule. A domestic gas plant will soon be in operation here along with LNG trains generating an average of 8.9 MTPA. Though this project’s capacity does not quite reach the magnitude of Gorgon’s production expectations, this is still a sizable contribution to Australia’s natural gas industry.
At the moment, preparations at the LNG civil site have grown to a close, leaving leeway for concentration on other stages of construction. LNG Tank 1 now has its roof while LNG Tank 2 is only slightly behind. Two of the site’s LNG Train 1 modules will soon be underway as will four utility pipe rack modules. The breakwater at the Wheatstone Materials Offloading Facility is also progressing according to schedule.
The decision to erect the Wheatstone facility slightly west of Onslow, along Western Australia’s Pilbara Coast, was not arrived at lightly. The site itself is situated within the Western Carnarvon Basin promising a rich supply of resources. Though Chevron Australia was well aware that this would be an optimal drilling site, its exact positioning came only after an entire year of engineering and environmental studies as well as considerations from social and economic standpoints.
Wheatstone Project Director, Chris Miller
Chevron Australia’s Chris Miller was designated Director of the Wheatstone project in May of 2009, the most recent position in his 35-year history with the company. Having gained prominence with the corporation from the beginning, Miller’s experience spans numerous engineering and management appointments on a global scale. Prior to his current standing, Miller oversaw the Angola LNG Project. His experience began mounting subsequently to earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tulsa.
Propelling the Nation into the Future
Preserving the environment remains at the forefront of Chevron Australia’s concerns, a fact made evident by the $200 million already vested in environmental and conservation efforts within the Gorgon and Wheatstone Projects alone. Most recently, they were bestowed the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s preliminary Environment Excellence Award for 2014. Whereas their environmental impact is being kept at a minimum, their positive economic imprint continues to grow. To date, the corporation has brought more than 14,000 industry-related jobs to the nation.
Having already set the bar in the AsiaPacific region of the natural gas and LNG production and supply sector, these notable Australian developments only serve to strengthen Chevron’s standings in the industry. At the same time, the Gorgon and Wheatstone projects promise to help reduce Australia’s dependence on foreign oil and propel the nation to prominence among the world’s leading LNG and natural gas suppliers. Tapping into Australia’s natural resources holds unlimited economic potential on a number of levels.
Currently at 55 percent completion, the Wheaton Project is a result of the combined efforts of its primary shareholder, Chevron Australia, as well as the Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company, the Apache Corporation, the Kyushu Electric Power Company and PE Wheatstone Pty Ltd. The Gorgon Project now boasts a status of 90 percent completion. Predominantly operated by Chevron Australia, it is also governed by ExxonMobil, Shell, Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas and Chubu Electric Power. Together, these companies plan to see the projects through to completion and ensure the facilities generate natural gas as well as liquefied natural gas to their fullest potential.