Chevron makes massive gas discovery with Acme-1 offshore Australia, supports Wheatstone LNG expansion

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Announcing a huge natural gas discovery offshore Western Australia, major producer Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has encountered natural gas with its Acme-1 exploration well in the deepwaters of the Carnarvon Basin.

A massive find, the Acme-1 encountered 896 feet (273 meters) of net natural gas pay.

"In terms of net gas pay, Acme-1 is one of our most significant natural gas discoveries in Australia,” said George Kirkland, vice chairman of Chevron. “As our ninth and largest offshore discovery in Western Australia in the last 12 months, it underscores the quality of our drilling program and our commitment to technical excellence and safe operations."

Located within the WA-205-P permit area 93 miles (150 kilometers) from Onslow, the Acme-1 discovery well was drilled to a total depth of 15,469 feet(4,715 meters) in waters measuring 2,880 feet (878 meters) deep.

“We expect this discovery to help underpin potential expansion opportunities at the Wheatstone liquefied natural gas hub,” said Jim Blackwell, president of Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production. “Adding to our Australian portfolio progresses our long-term plans to build a leading natural gas business in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.”

Chevron serves as the operator of WA-205-P with 67 percent interest. Shell (NYSE:RDS-A, NYSE:RDS-B) holds the remaining 33 percent interest in the block.

Wheatstone LNG

In 2004, Chevron discovered the Wheatstone field offshore Western Australia in the Carnarvon Basin. In 2008, the company announced its intention of developing Wheatstone and nearby offshore finds, now including Iago, Julimar and Brunello, as an onshore LNG and domestic gas project.

Natural gas produced from the Wheatstone and Iago fields will support the first phase of the Wheatstone LNG project, while the subsea tiebacks of Julimar and Brunello fields will extend the project’s life past the first phase of development.

The onshore plant near Onslow will include two LNG processing trains with a capacity of 4.3 million tones of LNG per annum each and a domestic gas plant. Expansion of the LNG facility may ramp up capacity to 25 million tones of LNG per year. 

Chevron is also progressing its $48 billion Gorgon LNG project offshore Australia.

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