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Wheatstone fires up

Operator Chevron expects the first cargo to leave its West Australian LNG project in the coming weeks

US supermajor Chevron has started producing gas from its Wheatstone liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia.

Chevron confirmed the milestone on Monday, adding that the first cargo from the US$34 billion project was expected to be shipped in the coming weeks.

“First LNG production is a significant milestone and is a credit to our partners, contractors and the many thousands of people who collaborated to deliver this legacy asset,” Chevron chief executive John Watson said.

“Wheatstone adds to our legacy gas position in Australia that will be a significant cash generator for decades to come.”

The project had experienced several delays, with a 2016 start-up being pushed back to mid-2017, while the project also saw a 17% capital cost increase from an original estimate of US$29 billion.

Upstream reported last week that the LNG carrier that was earmarked for Wheatstone’s first cargo had been redirected about 300 kilometres north to Dampier with production, at the time, yet to start.

Once fully operational, Wheatstone will have the capacity to produce 8.9 million tonnes per annum of LNG from two trains which will be fed by the Chevron-operated Wheatstone and Iago fields.

Wheatstone is operated by Chevron with a 64.14% stake and it is partnered by Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (13.4%), Woodside (13%), and Kyushu Electric Power Company (1.46 %), together with PE Wheatstone, part owned by Japanese company Jera (8%).