$37 billion Gorgon Project breaks ground

Gold-plated shovels used to turn first sod at LNG project in Australia

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The enormous US$37 billion Gorgon natural gas project in Australia, a joint venture between Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil, has broken ground.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that gold-plated shovels were used to turn the first sod on the project at Barrow Island, off the coast of Western Australia.

When works are completed Barrow Island will be home to three liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing trains, a domestic gas facility, LNG loading facilities and a carbon injection plant.

"The greater Gorgon area is estimated to have 40 trillion cubic feet of natural gas resources and is well positioned to meet the growing demand for natural gas in the Asia Pacific region,” Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production president Jim Blackwell said.

Over 3000 construction workers will live on the Island during the construction phase. The first shipment of gas from the site is expected in 2014.

The Gorgon Project, is operated by Chevron who own 50% of the joint venture with ExxonMobil and Shell each owning 25%.

The current estimated costs of $37 billion covers the first phase of development and the first gas is planned for 2014.

The Greater Gorgon Area's projected natural gas resources are equivalent to 6.7 billion barrels of oil. The project's scope includes a three-train, 15 million-metric-ton-per-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility and a domestic gas plant.

The project underwent an environmental assessment that culminated with some of the most stringent conditions imposed on a major project anywhere in the world.

Gorgon is also expected to have the world's largest carbon dioxide injection system and be a global leader in underground carbon dioxide injection technology.

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