13/01/2016 - 15:20

Karratha gas plant breakdown

13/01/2016 - 15:20


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Western Australia’s biggest and most productive gas production facility suffered an equipment failure early this morning.

Karratha gas plant breakdown
OUTAGE: Karratha gas plant has had to shut down most of its LNG processing trains.

Western Australia’s biggest and most productive gas production facility suffered an equipment failure early this morning.

This story has been updated: see below


It’s understood a transformer suffered an outage at the Woodside Petroleum-operated Karratha gas plant, causing the shutdown of three of its five liquefied natural gas processing trains.

Contractors are believed to have been sent home, and Business News understands that only one of the five trains is currently operating, as another of the trains was not operational for an unrelated reason.

A spokesperson told Business News the LNG outage had affected production, but there had been no impact on pipeline gas for the domestic market and LNG production was expected to resume shortly.

The Karratha gas plant is a key part of the North West Shelf project, whose joint venture partners recently let their decades-old joint marketing arrangement for domestic gas lapse.

The decision not to renew the agreement between BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron, MIMI (Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsui & Co), Shell, and Woodside means the partners will sell their share of outputs separately, in a move tipped to increase competition.

An official report handed down in November on the state of WA’s gas market said the move to equity marketing had eased concerns that some of the Karratha gas plant's production capacity may be retired, following speculation the plant would not produce domestic gas beyond 2020, when all the NWS joint venture’s domgas supply contracts were due to expire.

The report, ‘2015 Gas Statement of Opportunities’, published by WA’s Independent Market Operator, whose functions have since been folded into the Australian Energy Market Operator, found this year’s gas production was forecast to reach about 1,200 terajoules/day with demand forecast at just over 1,000TJ/day.

This is a slightly larger amount than in 2014, when the WA domgas market produced 980TJ/day, of which an average 470TJ came from the NWS.

Other major domgas suppliers include Quadrant Energy and Santos’s Varanus Island and Devil Creek projects, and BHP Billiton’s Macedon project.  

Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG plants, which are both expected to begin producing this year, will have a combined production capacity of approximately 500TJ/day when completed.

This is expected to increase total domgas production capacity to 1,977TJ/day by the end of 2024.

UPDATE: By 20 January LNG production had recommenced at the Karratha gas plant and all five trains were operating.  




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