Gorgon LNG Terminal

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Gorgon LNG Terminal is an LNG terminal in Western Australia, Australia.


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Project Details

  • Owner:
  • Parent: Chevron (47.3%), ExxonMobil (25%), Shell (25%), Osaka Gas (1.25%), Tokyo Gas (1%), JERA (0.417%)
  • Location: Barrow Island, Western Australia, Australia
  • Coordinates: -20.79, 115.44965 (exact)
  • Capacity: 15.6 mtpa
  • Additional Proposed Capacity:
  • Status: Operating
  • Type: Export
  • Trains: 4
  • Start Year: 2015

Note: mtpa = million tonnes per year; bcfd = billion cubic feet per day


Gorgon LNG Terminal is an LNG terminal in Western Australia, Australia.[1] The US$54 billion LNG terminal is a part of the Gorgon gas project, which includes the Greater Gorgon gas fields, subsea gas gathering infrastructure, and the Gorgon LNG Terminal.[2] A proposed Stage Two of the Gorgon gas project would upgrade existing subsea gas gathering to maintain supply to existing LNG Trains. In 2017, the proposed Stage Two was moved into the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) stage.[3]

In December 2015 the company cut 1,200 jobs from the Gorgon LNG project.[4]

In 2017 a resource tax expert announced that the petroleum resource rent tax (PRRT) had failed to collect billions of dollars in revenue in northwest Australia. According to the research, the Turnbull government should reintroduce royalties for natural gas projects off northwest Australia, or the Gorgon plant may not pay taxes until 2030 despite being in operation for years. The Gorgon project would raise five billion in tax revenue by 2030 if royalties were reintroduced.[5]

Reuters reported in October 2017 that the LNG market will be sharply focused on how Wheatstone LNG Terminal progresses since going online in 2017 following the troubled beginnings at Chevron’s larger Gorgon LNG Terminal. Natural gas fields offshore of Western Australia feed both Gorgon and Wheatstone.[6]

As of 2017, Australia is the second largest LNG exporter after Qatar. The country exports almost 44 million tons a year. [7]

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in July 2020 that the discovery of defects in essential equipment at the terminal had led to calls from the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union for an immediate shutdown of the facility due to concerns over the safety of approximately 200 workers. Kettle heat exchangers, which carry explosive pressurised propane, on Train 2 were discovered to be cracked during maintenance work, and sources at the terminal site expressed concerns that there was a high likelihood of cracked equipment on the plant's other trains. The West Australian Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety was reported not to have immediate concerns about the safety of workers but was engaged in discussions on the matter with Chevron.[8] In 2016, not long after production started up at Gorgon, a propane compressor, which pumps the propane through the kettles, failed causing Train 1 to be shut down for three months.[9]

Following the initial media reporting about the cracked equipment, the Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety announced that it was planning to inspect the Gorgon plant “as soon as possible”.[10] In early August 2020, the Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety served Chevron with 33 notices to improve the safety of propane-filled vessels at the terminal. The company was told to ensure the compliance of its facilities with these notices by the end of September 2020.[11]

In early September 2020, Chevron issued notice that repair work on the Train 2 propane heat exchangers would require an additional month to complete. Following this, the same repair work will require the shutting down of Train 1 in October and Train 3 in January 2021.[12] The Boiling Cold news site, which first broke the news about the terminal's damaged pressure vessels, estimated that the repair work interruptions will lead to production losses of at least US$1.4 billion for the Gorgon partners, Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas and JERA.[13]

Train 2 returned to operation in November 2020.[14]

Mercury poisoning of workers

In April/May 2021, union group Offshore Alliance reported that, in the space of a week, two workers at the Gorgon terminal had been contaminated with mercury due to insufficient personal protection equipment.[15] Exposure to high levels of mercury can result in harm to the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system. The Offshore Alliance has called for a halt to certain works until Chevron's occupational health and safety management at Gorgon, which the union body claims is deficient due to cost-cutting and gross negligence, is addressed. Chevron said that the workers involved did not appear to be suffering any adverse effects from the incidents, and said the incidents were under investigation.[16]

Proposed Expansion

In September 2012 Chevron proposed building a fourth 5.2-mtpa train to increase the terminal's capacity.[17] In May 2019 Chevron began to drill additional wells that would be used to maintain the terminal's existing capacity of 15.6 mtpa.[18] For this reason the construction of a fourth train for the terminal appears to be shelved.

Proposed Expansion Project Details

  • Owner:
  • Parent: Chevron (47.3%), ExxonMobil (25%), Shell (25%), Osaka Gas (1.25%), Tokyo Gas (1%), JERA (0.417%)
  • Location: Barrow Island, Western Australia, Australia
  • Coordinates: -20.79, 115.44965 (exact)
  • Capacity:
  • Proposed Capacity: 5.2 mtpa
  • Status: Shelved
  • Type: Export
  • Start Year:

Note: mtpa = million tonnes per year; bcfd = billion cubic feet per day

Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS)

In 2015 The Guardian reported that Australia’s top 20 emitting facilities include the Wheatstone LNG Terminal, Gorgon LNG Terminal, Ichthys LNG Terminal, and Pluto LNG Terminal.[19]

This facility is estimated to generate 0.27 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) for every metric ton of LNG produced according to a 2013 report.[20]

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), or carbon sequestration, is a means of separating out carbon dioxide when burning fossil fuels, collecting it and subsequently “dumping” it underground or in the sea. CCS is an integrated concept consisting of three distinct components: CO2 capture, transport and storage (including measurement, monitoring and verification). All three components are currently found in industrial operation today, although mostly not for the purpose of CO2 storage.

A consultancy report for an Australian government agency highlighted that CCS would impose additional demands on finite water supplies. "Issues related to water availability and carbon dioxide emissions present long term challenges for electricity generators. This is because water-cooled, low-emission, thermal power plants are likely to be significantly more water intensive than current coal-fired power plants. For example, coal-fired power plants incorporating carbon capture and storage (CCS) could be one-quarter to one-third more water intensive," the report states.[21]

As of 2011 Australia was to host to six large-scale integrated project (LSIP)s. [22]

In summer 2017, Gorgon LNG began to develop its $2 billion carbon capture and storage (CSS) project. The C02 will be compressed at Barrow Island. The CO2 injection wells will also be located on the Island. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2017.[23]

In November 2019 the Chair of Western Australia's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tom Hatton announced that Gorgon LNG's owners may be fined for emissions violations that are the result of the terminal operating since July 2016 without a CO2 capture system. The C02 capture system did not become operational until August 2019.[24]

Articles and resources


  1. Gorgon LNG Terminal, GEO, accessed April 2017
  2. Gorgon gas project, Wikipedia, accessed 29 October 2017
  3. Gorgon Project, Chevron Austrailia, accessed 29 October 2017
  4. Australian Associated Press,"Chevron slashes 1,200 jobs from Gorgon LNG project in Western Australia" The Guardian, February 8, 2017.
  5. Gareth Hutchens,"Australia must charge royalties on natural gas or lose billions, says expert," The Guardian, December 22, 2015.
  6. Sonali Paul, Henning Gloystein, "Chevron starts LNG output at Australia's Wheatstone, first cargo expected in weeks," Reuters, October 8, 2017.
  7. Diane Munro, [http://www.agsiw.org/qatar-moves-ensure-lng-dominance/ "Qatar Moves to Ensure LNG Dominance ,"] Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, April 17, 2017.
  8. Hamish Hastie, "'Workers fear for their safety': Calls for Gorgon shutdown after cracks found in critical plant components," The Sydney Morning Herald, Jul. 22, 2020.
  9. Peter Milne, "Cracks at Chevron's Gorgon threaten safety and LNG production," Boiling Cold, Jul. 22, 2020.
  10. Melanie Burton and Jessica Jaganathan, "Australia's safety unit says it plans to inspect Chevron's Gorgon LNG plant soon," Reuters, Jul. 23, 2020.
  11. Peter Milne, "Chevron cops 33 orders from regulators to make Gorgon safe," Boiling Point, Aug. 7, 2020.
  12. Eric Yep, "Chevron to complete repairs, restart production at Gorgon LNG Train 2 in Oct," S&P Global, Sep. 3, 2020.
  13. Peter Milne, "Chevron's Gorgon LNG faces up to $1.4B hit to fix cracks," Boiling Point, Aug. 21, 2020.
  14. "GIIGNL 2021 Annual Report”, page 38, GIIGNL, accessed May 4, 2021.
  15. Josh Lewis,"Second mercury poisoning incident reported at Chevron's Gorgon LNG project," Upstream, May 3, 2021.
  16. Josh Lewis, "Unions claim worker suffered mercury poisoning at Chevron's Gorgon LNG facility," Upstream, Apr. 28, 2021.
  17. Gorgon Expansion Project, Chevron, September 2012
  18. new wells in Gorgon and Jansz-Io gas fields, The West Australian, May 27, 2019
  19. Lenore Taylor,"Direct Action 'safeguards' will allow industry to increase emissions – analysts," The Guardian, September 2, 2015.
  20. "BC’S Carbon Pollution Could Double with LNG Plants" Tarika Powell, Sightline Institute, June 7, 2017.
  21. ACIL Tasman and Evans and Peck, Water and the electricity generation industry - implications of use, National Water Commission, Waterlines report No 18, August 2009.
  22. "One fifth of large CCS projects halted in 2010: report" Commodities Now, March 9, 2011.
  23. "Gorgon Carbon Dioxide Injection" Global CSS Institute, June 20, 2017.
  24. Amanda Jasi, Gorgon LNG project faces emissions penalties, The Chemical Engineer, Oct. 10, 2019

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