21/08/2020 - 16:00

Phased shutdown of Gorgon agreed

21/08/2020 - 16:00


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Chevron is planning a phased shutdown of the production trains at its Gorgon LNG plant after striking an agreement with state government safety regulators.

Phased shutdown of Gorgon agreed

Chevron is planning a phased shutdown of the production trains at its Gorgon LNG plant after striking an agreement with state government safety regulators.

The new agreement overcomes concerns that production at Gorgon may have needed to be halted completely to address safety concerns at the giant gas project.

The Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) announced this afternoon it has amended the remediation notice that required Chevron to inspect heat exchangers on production trains 1 and 3 at Gorgon by today (21 August).

Director Dangerous Goods and Petroleum Safety Steve Emery said Chevon has presented safety and technical information that supported a staged inspection schedule. 

The proposed schedule will see train 1 shut down for inspection in early October and train 3 in January 2021.

The original remediation notice followed the discovery of multiple cracks in the high-pressure propane kettles on train 2.

These defects were discovered during a planned a maintenance shutdown and are currently being repaired.

A Chevron spokesperson said today that the inspection, repair and restart on train 1 could be around 45-90 days, based on its experience on train 2.

The spokesperson also confirmed that repairs on train 2 are progressing and it expected to commence restart activities in early September. 

DMIRS said Chevon has provided new information including details on the origins and nature of the defects to its propane kettles as well as the risks associated with various approaches to addressing the uncertainties around trains 1 and 3.

It said the Dangerous Goods Directorate conducted an in-depth review of Chevron’s submission and was satisfied the proposal provided an acceptable level of risk under the Dangerous Goods Safety Act.

It added that Dangerous Goods Directorate officers would continue to analyse the inspection results, review the on-going suitability of the program and assess if further regulatory action was required.

DMIRS also disclosed today that its WorkSafe division has issued eight improvement notices relating to the eight propane kettles on production train 1.

WorkSafe director Sally North said the notices required Chevron to inspect the train 1 pressure vessels (propane kettles) and have a compliance date of 4 September.

“As with all WorkSafe notices, Chevron has the opportunity to seek a review if they do not agree with the notices or to seek an extension of the compliance date,” Ms North said.

The latest WorkSafe directives come after the agency issued 24 improvement notices earlier this month in relation to the vessels on train 3. They require Chevron to inspect and, if necessary, repair the vessels on train 3 by 24 September.

The Chevron spokesperson said today the company has requested a review of the Improvement Notices previously issued for train 3.

The heat exchangers, or kettles, are used to heat the propane, as part of the process of producing liquefied natural gas (LNG).

DMIRS issued its original remediation notice because of concerns that trains 1 and 3 may have similar defects to the reported cracking in train 2.

That’s because all of the units were manufactured at the same factory in South Korea.

The Gorgon LNG plant, on Barrow Island off the Pilbara coast, was Australia’s largest single resources development, costing in excess of $50 billion.



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