Chevron says Gorgon LNG export plant still suspended after leak

MILAN (Reuters) - Production remains suspended at Chevron Corp’s $54 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) Gorgon export facility in Australia following a gas leak nearly two weeks ago, a company spokesman said.

The logo of Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company Chevron (CVX) is seen in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

After the shutdown on July 1, Chevron initially said production would recommence in the “coming week.”

“Production at the Gorgon LNG plant site has been temporarily suspended while the company undertakes some minor repair and maintenance work,” said spokesman Bradley Haynes.

Gorgon had stored LNG and was still able to export its second ever cargo on July 3 aboard the Marib Spirit tanker, but there have been no exports since.

“Gorgon finally shipped its second cargo at the start of July on the Marib Spirit (under term charter to Shell). Four other ships are scheduled,” Australian energy advisory firm EnergyQuest said in a monthly LNG report.

According to a shipping schedule published by Chevron Australia prior to the leak, Gorgon was due to export another cargo on July 9-11 aboard the Asia Excellence tanker.

That vessel is currently anchored around 100 kilometres (62 miles) off Gorgon, according to shipping data, along with the Asia Endeavour, another of Gorgon’s project vessels.

The world’s most expensive LNG project shut down in April due to technical problems shortly after exporting its first cargo.

Gorgon is a joint venture of the Australian subsidiaries of operator Chevron with a 47.3 percent stake, ExxonMobil and Shell with 25 percent each, Osaka Gas at 1.25 percent, Tokyo Gas at 1 percent and Chubu Electric Power at less than 0.5 percent.

It will have the capacity to produce 15.6 million tonnes of LNG per year, after a second and third production line, known as trains, are added in 2017.

“Construction activities are continuing on Gorgon Train 2 and 3,” Haynes said.

Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne; editing by Jason Neely