Development Plans For Gorgon Field Under Discussion

ChevronTexaco has been holding talks with the West Australian state government over the best way to market the undeveloped Greater Gorgon gas field, a senior government official said on Tuesday. Director of business development for the West Australian Department of Minerals and Petroleum Resources, Rod Evans, said an announcement over the commercialization of the Greater Gorgon field could be expected during the next few weeks. "We are working with the joint venture partners of the Greater Gorgon field at the moment on some strategies to assist with the monetization of that field. Unfortunately those discussions are still in confidence," Evans said.

Greater Gorgon encompasses five discoveries - Gorgon, Chrysaor, Dionysus, West Tryal Rocks and Spar. Gorgon is the largest natural gas field in Australia with certified hydrocarbon reserves of more than 9.6 trillion cubic feet. According to some estimates, Greater Gorgon's reserves could total as much as 35 trillion cubic feet, providing opportunities for liquefied natural gas as well as domestic supply. ChevronTexaco holds a 57.14% stake of Greater Gorgon, Shell has a 28.57% stake and ExxonMobil a 14.29% stake.

In August 2001, ChevronTexaco signed a memorandum of understanding with CNOOC Ltd to look at the feasibility of CNOOC taking an equity interest in Gorgon and to look at gas market development in China. "We are very, very excited about China and we have been for some time. We see China as being more than Guangdong (province). We are very, very bullish about other opportunities in China and I think in 12 months time there will be a lot more discussions about other opportunities emerging in China," Evans said.

China is expected to announce soon the successful bidder for the liquefied natural gas supply contract for the Guangdong terminal. BP Indonesia, Australia LNG Pty Ltd and Ras Laffan Co. have all been short-listed.