22/07/2020 - 10:00

Gorgon safety inspection ASAP

22/07/2020 - 10:00

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The state government said today it was planning a safety inspection of Chevron’s giant Gorgon LNG project as soon as possible after reports hundreds of cracks had been found in propane heat exchangers.

Gorgon safety inspection ASAP
The Gorgon liquified national gas development is on Barrow Island, off the northwest coast of WA. Photo: Chevron

The state government said today it was planning a safety inspection of Chevron’s giant Gorgon LNG project as soon as possible after reports hundreds of cracks had been found in propane heat exchangers.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union said the giant project should be shut down to protect worker safety and allow a full inspection.

Chevron did not confirm details of the problem but said relevant regulatory bodies, including the Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety, had been informed about the inspection of the propane kettles on processing train 2.

DMIRS director Dangerous Goods and Petroleum Safety Steve Emery said the department was aware of issues but was not able to provide details. 

“The department is aware Chevron Australia discovered issues with propane kettles at its Gorgon LNG plant during routine maintenance and understands the company is investigating,” Mr Emery said in a statement. 

“While DMIRS does not have any immediate concerns for worker safety, the department is taking the matter seriously and is in discussion with Chevron about the findings from its maintenance inspections and the assessment of the results to date.  

“DMIRS will conduct a joint Dangerous Goods/WorkSafe inspection of the LNG plant as soon as possible.”

The AMWU said cracks up to one metre long and 30mm deep were found on between 8 to 11 kettles on train 2.

“This represents a serious failure in this critical piece of kit", union state secretary Steve McCartney said.

"These kettles are carrying pressurised propane, and the trains are lined up next to each other on the plate."

Mr McCartney said the same problems could arise on trains 1 and 3, which were supplied by the same manufacturer in South Korea.

Chevron said production was continuing from trains 1 and 3.

It said the maintenance turnaround on train 2 commenced in May and was part of an annual program of shutdowns on the project, located on Barrow Island off the Pilbara coast.

A spokesperson said the company was pleased with the strong progress made to date, with scheduled work mechanically complete.

The company said the current turnaround included hundreds of workers executing more than 1,000 work orders, thousands of electrical equipment inspections, fixed equipment integrity inspections and vessel inspections.

It also encompassed thousands of flange breaks and re-assemblies, pressure welds, material lines and consumable lines.

More than 4000 fin-fan plugs, used to keep the LNG trains cool, are also removed, inspected and cleaned.

DMIRS said WorkSafe and Dangerous Goods Safety legislation places significant obligations on operators to provide a safe workplace and to ensure the safe storage and handling of dangerous goods. 

The legislation also provides the department with a range of enforcement measures to ensure operators meet their obligations. 

 

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