Government of Western Australia Official Site


Prime Minister Turnbull and WA Premier Barnett visit Gorgon


Ahead of speaking at the welcome reception for the LNG 18 conference in Perth, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and WA Premier Colin Barnett toured the nation’s biggest resource project, the Gorgon liquefied natural gas project on Barrow Island, 70km off WA’s Pilbara coast.

The huge plant employed 10,000 workers during peak construction and will eventually be responsible for almost a fifth of Australia’s LNG output. Gorgon will help Australia overtake Qatar as the world’s biggest producer of LNG by 2020.

“This is a triumph,” the Prime Minister said, shortly before unveiling a commemorative plaque alongside Premier Colin Barnett. “What you have created here is remarkable. This is a great Australian achievement. As we transition to a cleaner, greener environment, gas is an absolutely critical element to that transition.”

Not long after Gorgon celebrated its first shipment of LNG on March 21, a major mechanical problem was found in a propane refrigerant circuits on Train 1, the only one of the three processing lines to be completed. Chevron managing director Roy Krzywosinski told the PM and other dignitaries that “It’s not a huge issue, it’s just something we need to address,” as the official party took a coach ride around the Gorgon facility.

US Ambassador to Australia John Berry said America had spent as much on the Australian LNG industry as was spent on the Apollo lunar mission.

Mr Turnbull was environment minister in the Howard Government when Gorgon received its environmental approvals. Despite its hostile appearance, Barrow Island is diverse in wildlife, including kangaroos, rock wallabies, bandicoot and bettongs. Twenty-four native species are not found anywhere else in the world. Consequently, it is subject to extraordinary environmental protocols.

To prevent the introduction of pests, both fauna and flora, strict quarantine measures are implemented. The island is a no-go area for tourists and fishermen. Vehicles are banned from leaving the speed-limited dirt tracks and all supplies, including equipment, are shrink-wrapped to prevent contamination.

Chevron and its partners are using Gorgon as its showcase demonstration that big industry can operate in sensitive areas, possibly with the long-term ambition to convince governments to allow resource extraction in places like the Antarctic. Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg said the first gas from Gorgon was a milestone in Australia’s “golden age of gas”.

“The scale of the project, it’s innovation and the level of investment is unprecedented, and it’s all been completed with a workforce that’s 99 per cent Australian,” he said. “In just three decades we’ve gone from having our first LNG export to overtaking Qatar in 2020 to become the world’s largest LNG exporter, delivering billions of dollars to our economy, increasing our strategic strength in the region and creating tens of thousands of jobs here at home.”

Before being liquefied, the carbon dioxide is removed from the natural gas and re-injected into deep reservoirs below the island. This is the biggest carbon and capture project of its kind and makes LNG from Gorgon the cleanest in the world, with just 0.38 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne of LNG produced.

Photo: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and WA Colin Premier Barnett (Source: Australian Financial Review)

Source: The Western Australian