Chevron Expands Australian LNG project

Regulatory approval by the government in Western Australia will allow Chevron Australia Pty Ltd. to move forward with a $1.6 billion expansion of its Australian LNG facilities, the North West Shelf Venture (NWSV) near Karratha, Western Australia. The expansion, which is designed mainly to increase exports to Japan and Pacific Rim countries, also would provide increased LNG shipments to the United States --- including a potential new import terminal on the West Coast (see NGI, March 26).

The expansion involves three major projects: construction of a fourth LNG train with an annual capacity to process 500 MMcf/d; development of an 80-mile, 42-inch diameter pipeline to shore from the NWSV-operated offshore gas fields; and the design and construction of the venture's ninth LNG carrier ship.

NWSV will invest $892 million in the LNG processing and associated infrastructure expansion, with additional investments of $522 million for the pipeline and $165 million for the LNG carrier. Construction of the fourth LNG train is expected to begin in September this year and to be on stream by mid-2004.

Contracts have already been awarded to Western Australian companies for preliminary site work that began in late January. A ship tender process was recently completed for the LNG carrier that will be built in Korea by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering for delivery in 2004.

"The NWS expansion project will be one of the biggest industrial projects ever undertaken in Australia," said Keli Taureka of Chevron Australia Pty Ltd. "We believe it will provide significant economic benefits both to the Pilbara region in Western Australia, and the entire country. It also supports and exemplifies Chevron's growth in the global LNG market and facilitates further domestic gas opportunities in Australia.

Chevron is the largest holder of gas reserves in Western Australia through its interests in the NWS Project and its operatorship of the massive Greater Gorgon Area gas fields. Participants in the North West Shelf Venture, each of whom hold equal interest, are Woodside Energy Ltd. (operator); Chevron Australia Pty Ltd.; BHP Petroleum (North West Shelf) Pty Ltd.; BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd.; Japan Australia LNG (MIMI) Pty Ltd.; and Shell Development (Australia) Proprietary Ltd.

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