By JAMES PATON
SYDNEY -- Chevron, operator of the $49 billion Gorgon natural
gas venture in Australia, said some
uncertainties remain in the construction of the project after its budget last year
Some areas of construction still need to
improve after Gorgon costs surged on gains in the
Australian dollar, higher labor expenses and weather delays,
Chief Financial Officer Pat Yarrington said on a Nov. 1 call
with analysts, according to a transcript. Labor productivity at
Gorgon, located on Barrow Island off northwest Australia, has
increased, she said.
Chevron is completing its budget for the year and will
inform investors of any potential cost changes, she
said. Shell and ExxonMobil are partners in Gorgon, which
Yarrington said during the call is more than 70% complete.
Productivity, I would say, is improving on all fronts
but there are still some areas that still need to
improve, Yarrington said. We are moving into a
critical phase from a schedule standpoint on the project.
Gorgon is one of seven LNG
projects being built in Australia to meet rising Asian demand
for the commodity. Chevron said that it will weigh an expansion of Gorgon,
Australias largest resources project, against competing
investment proposals as costs in the country put
Australias competitiveness at risk.
There are still uncertainties that exist with a project of our size,
Yarrington said. Our challenge every day is to mitigate
the risks as they arrive.
The Gorgon partners are interested in an expansion of the venture, Yarrington
said. Gorgon is expected to deliver its first cargoes in the
first quarter of 2015 after the LNG
plant starts in late 2014, Chevron said in December.