Barrow Island, Western Australia
The Chevron-operated Gorgon Project is one of the world’s largest natural gas projects and the largest single resource development in Australia’s history.
The Gorgon Project is under construction on Barrow Island, about 60 kilometres off the north-west coast of Western Australia. It includes the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Barrow Island capable of producing 15.6 million tonnes of LNG per annum, and a domestic gas plant that will supply 300 terajoules of gas per day to Western Australia. Gorgon LNG will be offloaded via a 2.1-kilometre loading jetty for transport to international markets. The domestic gas will be piped to the Western Australian mainland.
The Gorgon Project will incorporate one of the world's largest carbon dioxide injection projects. The project will inject and store reservoir carbon dioxide into a deep reservoir unit more than two kilometres beneath the ground – reducing Gorgon’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 40 per cent.
The Gorgon Project will be an important pillar of the Australian economy for decades to come. To date, the project has spent $31 billion on local goods and services, and generated more than 10,000 jobs in Australia. It is estimated the project will contribute about $40 billion to the Australian Government’s revenue and $64 billion to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product.
Having regulated Barrow Island since 1967, the Department of Mines and Petroleum provided Chevron Australia with helpful regulatory and geoscientific information before Gorgon’s start. Under a State Agreement, the Western Australian Government granted environmental approvals to Gorgon in 2009, before the department facilitated land access to the existing Barrow Island Petroleum Production Lease. The department also issued seven Pipeline Licences to the Project, including one for its Carbon Dioxide Injection Project. Extensive modelling and due diligence studies were performed by the department to confirm the project could safely store carbon dioxide. The department will also regulate the project’s dioxide injection wells.
The Gorgon Project involves the development of the Jansz-Io gas field, together with the Gorgon field. The ocean depth of the Jansz-Io field is about 1300 metres, around 800 more metres than the average development depth. This made Gorgon’s subsea gas gathering systems one of the most complex of its time.
Since 1910, Barrow Island has been a Class A Nature Reserve and is home to 24 terrestrial species and subspecies not known to occur elsewhere, as well as 378 native plant species.
To protect the ecology of Barrow Island and its surrounding waters, Chevron Australia implemented the world’s largest non-government quarantine initiative on the island.
The Quarantine Management System (QMS) involves more than 300 procedures, specifications, checklists and guidelines, and has been acknowledged by the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority as “likely to be world’s best practice”. The department regulates the QMS though a comprehensive audit and reporting schedule.