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More LNG trains have to be checked for ‘massive’ cracks at $76B project

Gorgon LNG processing facility
Gorgon LNG processing facility

An oil and gas producer could have no choice but to go back and check the remaining facility equipment for giant cracks at a US$54 billion (A$76B) gas development.

Chevron Australia has confirmed it is likely to be forced to reinspect pressurised propane kettles on two out of three liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains at the Gorgon Gas Project, 145km off the shore of Karratha.

Duplicated work

The decision came after workers reported “massive” cracks, measuring up to 1 metre long and 3cm deep in between eight and 11 kettles on the second LNG train during scheduled maintenance. The proponent found substandard fabrication caused multiple breaches inside of the 15.6 million tonne per annum Gorgon LNG Processing Plant.

“We did not see the issue in train one but we are assessing whether or not we need to reevaluate that inspection and go through it again,” Chevron upstream executive vice president Jay Johnson said according to News Limited.

“We are addressing how best to inspect and, if necessary, repair train three at this time.”

‘Manufacturing defect’

Johnson criticised the South Korean company for supplying poorly welded kettles to both the Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects, and believes Gorgon’s 800-strong workforce will be able to resolve the issues.

“The defects that we found in the wells we believe were there from the original manufacturer. They are not a design defect at all but they are a manufacturing defect,’’ he said.

“We do not need to replace the vessels. We believe the repairs are going to be fully effective.”

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The proponent expects affected gas processing units will be out of order for less than two months.

“Repairs are underway and we have the necessary personnel with skills and knowledge to conduct the work onsite,” a Chevron spokesperson said.

“Once repairs are complete, we expect to safely commence LNG Train 2 restart activities around early September.”

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