press release

Expanded North West Shelf Begins LNG Train Start-up


This is news concerning ChevronTexaco but issued by someone other than ChevronTexaco and archived here for record purposes.

PERTH, Australia, Jul. 7, 2004 -- Gas has begun flowing into the North West Shelf Venture's new, fourth LNG train where it will be liquefied for export from the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia.

Woodside Energy Ltd., operator of the Venture, has begun commissioning the train in readiness for meeting expanded production commitments this year.

First gas has flowed into the acid gas removal system – the first phase of the multi-stage liquefaction process – and is now entering the LNG train as part of commissioning.

As at 30 June 2004, the construction phase is all but finished with insulation of pipe and vessels being the major work still ongoing. Commissioning is nearly 90% complete.

Woodside's Chief Executive Officer of the North West Shelf Venture, Steve Ollerearnshaw, said the new train was being brought into operation in stages, with many areas already commissioned and operational, including the acid gas removal unit, power generation facilities, and process utilities such as nitrogen, air and water.

The new train will boost LNG production capacity at the venture's onshore gas plant from 7.5 million tonnes a year to 11.7 million tonnes.

"The introduction of first gas into the front-end of the train achieves another major milestone in the expansion of the venture's LNG facilities," Mr Ollerearnshaw said.

In February 2004, gas began flowing to shore through the venture's new second offshore trunkline and this was followed in April by the arrival and loading of the venture's ninth LNG carrier, Northwest Swan.

Mr Ollerearnshaw said the total estimated expansion project cost, including the ninth LNG carrier, remained at A$2.7 billion.

"This latest milestone concludes three years of hard work at the site where the work force, which peaked at more than 2400 people, set new benchmarks for safety on a heavy construction site," he said.

Mr Ollerearnshaw said that the expansion project has yielded a larger, more efficient and reliable operating system, thereby providing a strong platform for further growth of the Venture's gas business both in Western Australia and overseas.

"This culminated in late June with the dual operation of the Venture's two offshore trunklines and the completion of related pipeline modifications under the North Rankin A production platform."

The six equal participants in the North West Shelf Venture are: BHP Billiton Petroleum (North West Shelf) Pty Ltd; BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd; ChevronTexaco Australia Pty Ltd; Japan Australia LNG (MIMI) Pty Ltd; and Shell Development (Australia) Proprietary Limited; Woodside Energy Ltd. (operator).

Key Facts About North West Shelf LNG Expansion

Train 4

  • The Train 4 Project is one of the biggest construction projects in Australia.
  • An estimated 9000 jobs (direct and indirect) were created across Australia during construction.
  • In November 2003, the construction work force peaked at 2400.
  • The foundation work involved the pouring of 13,000 cubic metres of reinforced concrete, the equivalent of about 10 Olympic-size swimming pools full of concrete.
  • 8000 tonnes of structural steel has been assembled (double the amount used on Train 3) and 5100 tonnes of pipe. The existing production trains each required 4000 tonnes of steel and 3200 tonnes of pipe.
  • Each of the two cryogenic heat exchangers in Train 4 has about 650km of wound aluminium tube.
  • More than 375km of electrical cabling above and below ground was required.
  • 84,000 litres of paint was used to paint pipes, vessels and equipment on-site, about the same amount required for one coat of paint on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • Once fully operational, Train 4 will increase tax revenue to Government by more than A$400 million a year (including indirect tax payments by suppliers and from increased employment).

Second Trunkline

  • At 135km long and more than a metre in diameter, the new undersea pipeline between the North West Shelf and the Burrup Peninsula is the biggest offshore trunkline in Australia and one of the biggest worldwide.
  • It has a capacity of 2200 million standard cubic feet a day or 64 million cubic metres, enough to provide more than four times the amount of gas consumed in WA each day
  • At its peak, 400 people worked offshore on installation, hook-up and commissioning.
  • More than 70 Australian welders were trained in the latest offshore welding techniques as part of the project.
  • During installation more than 600,000 tonnes of rock were placed over a 30km near-shore section of the trunkline to ensure its stability.
  • The remaining 80km deepwater section of the trunkline is secured to the seabed by 900, 34-tonne gravity anchors placed every 50 to 150 metres.

Ninth LNG Ship

  • Northwest Swan made its maiden voyage to Japan in April 2004.
  • The vessel has a membrane containment system, unlike the existing fleet which has the spherical Moss Rosenberg design.
  • The vessel is 287 metres long with a beam of 43.4 metres and a draught of 11.5 metres
  • With a capacity of 138,500 cubic metres, it is larger than vessels in the existing fleet which carry 125,000 cubic metres of LNG.


Photographs of the expansion project and LNG ship are available in jpeg format at

Updated: July 2004