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Gorgon a triumph of technology and ingenuity

     

Nigel Hearne

Managing Director
Chevron Australia Pty Ltd
Published in the The West Australian
Friday, 21 April 2017

As Australia’s biggest single resource development and one of the world’s biggest natural gas projects, the Chevron-led Gorgon Project represents a 21st-century nation-defining development delivering reliable natural gas to WA, and across Asia, for generations to come.

Gorgon, along with its sister project Wheatstone, are just two of seven new energy developments undertaken by our industry in recent years.

When Wheatstone is online, WA will be home to 11 liquefied natural gas trains, producing about 46 million tonnes of natural gas a year.

There’s a lot to be proud of — Australia is demonstrating its ability to bring together the technology, innovation and human ingenuity to deliver world-class projects on a scale never seen before.

Since the Gorgon joint venture participants farewelled the maiden cargo of Gorgon LNG in March last year, more than 60 cargoes have been delivered to customers in Asia hungry for cleaner burning natural gas. To put this in perspective — one cargo alone has enough energy to supply about 80,000 Japanese homes for one year.

Gorgon is also an important new source of reliable natural gas for WA households, with supplies starting last December. At full capacity, Gorgon domestic gas can generate enough electricity to supply 2.5 million households. That is set to increase when Wheatstone domestic gas comes online.

There is no doubt these domestic gas resources would still be in the ground today, were it not for the multibillion-dollar investment in LNG.

With the life of the Gorgon Project expected to span more than 40 years, it will continue to deliver far-reaching benefits for the local economy through reliable natural gas supplies, jobs, community investment and government revenues.

In Gorgon’s construction phase alone, the project created more than 10,000 direct local jobs and awarded 700 contracts to local companies based in the Pilbara, WA and across Australia.

The project injected $40 billion into the Australian economy on local goods and services.

The project has one of the biggest subsea installations in the world, weighing 230,000 tonnes, 500 miles of pipeline placed onshore and offshore, and as much steel in the plant as four Sydney Harbour Bridges.

It is also an example that with the right management, industry and the environment can co-exist.

It is on Barrow Island, a Class A nature reserve, where Chevron and its workforce is taking great pride in protecting the island’s biodiversity.

Gorgon will continue to pay a dividend to Australia for generations to come and is the result of Australia’s energy policy creating an investment climate that attracted more than $200 billion investment in Australian LNG.

Good policy supported these record levels of investment and we need to ensure future policy continues to do so.

Of concern to the industry is pressure being placed on the Government by special interest groups asking for policy interventions on issues such as the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax. Ill-informed policy decisions can have unintended consequences and can retrospectively have an impact on project economics and future investment as well as on Australia’s global competitiveness.

Good policy has enabled the current wave of oil and gas investment and helped power the Australian economy.

For Australia to be competitive at attracting future constrained capital, it needs to offer a globally competitive fiscal regime.

This will help sustain and create jobs, deliver continuing economic and social benefits as well as reliable energy supplies.

Australia is blessed with amazing natural gas resources and is ideally positioned to service key LNG markets at a time when demand is growing. Good energy policy has been a key enabler of the current LNG revolution.

Nation-building projects such as Gorgon are a testament to the vision, innovation, spirit and expertise of tens of thousands of people in Australia and around the world.

Nigel Hearne is managing director of Chevron Australia.