Gorgon To Drive Australian LNG Asia-Export Surge
- Joel Parshall (JPT Features Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 2010
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 32 - 35
- 2010. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
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One of the world’s largest natural-gas projects, involving one of the largest, most advanced carbon-dioxide-sequestration initiatives, is moving ahead in Coastal Western Australia. The Chevron-operated Gorgon project will develop offshore reservoirs for liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) export and domestic gas-market supply, centered around LNG and gas-plant facilities to be built on Barrow Island. Sanctioned in 2009, Gorgon is in its construction phase and is slated to begin operations in 2014.
Not far behind is another huge Chevron-led natural-gas/LNG project, Wheatstone, in which company and third-party fields off Western Australia will be developed and tied into a planned coastal LNG-export and domestic-gas processing hub. Front-end engineering and design are under way, with a final investment decision expected in 2011.
LNG exports to Asia Pacific customers are at the heart of both projects, which together point to a surging importance of Australian LNG in the world market. Australia is the world’s sixth largest exporter of LNG, and some market observers believe that anticipated projects could elevate Australia to No. 1 in world LNG exports within about a decade.
‘An Energy Sweet Spot’
“In every sense, the biggest game in town is the development of megaprojects for the export of LNG,” Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett said earlier this year.
In a recent talk to the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, Roy Krzywosinski, managing director, Chevron Australia, said, “Our industry finds itself in an energy sweet spot, surrounded by natural-gas resources on the doorstep of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing market, the Asia Pacific region.”
Gorgon’s reserves lie within the Greater-Gorgon-Area gas fields in the Carnarvon basin off the northwest coast of Western Australia. The initial phase of development includes 18 subsea wells to be drilled in two separate fields: Gorgon, approximately 80 miles offshore in 660 ft of water; and Jansz-Io, approximately 125 miles offshore in 4,300 ft of water. It is anticipated that up to 30 wells will be drilled in the Gorgon-area fields over approximately 30 years.
From the wellheads, gas will flow to one of several cluster manifolds to be installed nearby on the seafloor, at which production from multiple wells will be combined and routed in a single flow path from each manifold to pipeline-termination structures. A system of flowlines will connect these termination points with each other. Produced gas will flow through lines leading from the termination structures and eventually traveling up a steep, 5/8-mile-high underwater escarpment en route to the Barrow Island processing facilities.
All subsea equipment will be monitored and controlled from the onshore LNG plant by means of an electrohydraulic multiplexed system with primary fiber-optic communications, which will incorporate a system of subsea control umbilicals to tie in the seafloor infrastructure with the plant.
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