Thousands of Cracks Discovered at Chevron’s Gorgon LNG Plant

Weld Australia Calls on Chevron to Leverage the Skills of the Local Welding Industry to Rectify Imported Components

Geoff Crittenden | Chief Executive Officer, Weld Australia

With dangerous cracks discovered in critical components of the US$54 billion Gorgon LNG project off the Pilbara coast, Weld Australia is calling on Chevron to leverage the skills and experience of local Australian welders to rectify the issues.

As reported in The West Australian, during a routine shutdown of the train two processing line at Chevron’s Gorgon LNG plant, thousands of cracks—some up to a metre long and 30mm deep—were found in giant heat exchanges and propane kettles. These critical components were originally manufactured offshore in South Korea. With these exchanges and kettles used to store with explosive chemicals, the health and safety risks are enormous.

Chevron is now conducting urgent testing of the other heat exchanges and propane kettles, which were manufactured at the same time, by the same South Korean factory.

Importing these critical components from South Korea has clearly been a disaster. As is so often the case, imported fabrication work is of such poor quality that entire components must be completely rebuilt. Together with serious long-term reliability and safety concerns, these quality issues completely negate any possible upfront cost savings.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with international borders shut to FIFO welders, now is an ideal opportunity to employ Australian welders to rectify the serious issues discovered in train two, and undertake the urgent safety and quality inspections required on trains one and three.

Multi-national companies like Chevron need to understand that they are part of our community and have a social responsibility to support Australian industry. Australia is home to some of the most experienced welders and fabricators, who routinely produce high quality work, in line with all relevant Australian Standards—there really is no downside to supporting local industry.

Apart from providing jobs for local Australian fabricators, keeping this type of work in Australia is vital for our economy. According to a recent report by the Industry Capability Network, every $1 million worth of output in the Australian steel industry generates over $700,000 worth of Gross Value Added in industrial support activities and $225,300 in tax revenue. Plus, for every person employed directly by the steel industry, this creates as many as six full-time jobs in related and downstream industries.

This is the perfect opportunity to bring local welders and fabricators together to collaborate on solving the critical safety issues at Chevron’s nationally strategic asset.

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