On 24 March 1952 Chevron entered Western Australia through Caltex (owned by Texaco and Standard Oil of California, later to become Chevron) joining with Ampol Petroleum to form West Australian Petroleum Pty Ltd (WAPET). Just over a year later, WAPET found oil at the Rough Range No.1 well in the Carnarvon Basin.
In 1964 Chevron joined Woodside and Shell in an exploration joint venture which later became the North West Shelf Venture. Later that year, WAPET announced an oil discovery on Barrow Island as first oil flowed from Barrow No.1.
In 1966 WAPET found gas at Dongara in the Perth Basin. In 1967 the naturalist Harry Butler was appointed as a conservation consultant to WAPET in a pioneering move to support environmental management at Barrow Island. The first shipment of oil also left Barrow Island that year.
In 1971 the North West Shelf Venture discovered gas at the North Rankin and Angel fields, which was followed a year later by the discovery of the Goodwyn field. Also in 1971, gas was delivered to Perth via pipeline when the Dongara field was brought on stream.
The West Tryal Rocks gas field was discovered north-west of Barrow Island in 1973, the first of the Greater Gorgon Area gas fields to be discovered. In 1980 the Gorgon field was discovered in deep water west of Barrow Island.
Pioneering Australian Energy
In 1984 first gas was delivered from the North West Shelf Venture to Perth via the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline. Five years later, the first LNG shipment was exported from the Venture to Japan.
WAPET found the Saladin oil field near Thevenard Island in 1985, and this was followed by a series of other discoveries in the area over the next ten years. First oil flowed from the Thevenard Island operations in 1989.
From 1994 to 2000, a series of new gas discoveries were made in the Greater Gorgon Area. Also in 2000, Chevron Australia became operator of the oil and gas exploration and production assets previously managed by WAPET.
After extensive studies to identify the best site for the Gorgon Project, the Western Australian Government provided in-principle approval for the Gorgon Project’s onshore gas plant to be based at Barrow Island in 2003.
The Wheatstone gas field was discovered in the Greater Gorgon Area in 2004. Further gas discoveries were made in the area in 2006.
In 2007, Chevron’s Energy Technology Company opened a Global Technology Centre in Perth to provide research, development and technical services to Chevron’s worldwide operations.
The Western Australian and Federal Governments awarded environmental approvals for a 10 million tonne per annum (mtpa) LNG plant and domestic gas plant at Barrow Island in 2007. In 2008 Chevron announced that it was working with government to secure approvals for a revised and expanded 15 mtpa Gorgon Project.
Also in 2008, Chevron announced its intention to develop the Wheatstone gas field as a greenfield onshore LNG and domestic gas project and identified Ashburton North near Onslow as the preferred site.
In addition, Chevron announced an extension to the Iago field in 2008 following a successful seven well exploration and appraisal program at the Wheatstone and Iago fields.
In February 2009, Chevron leased a new 14 floor office building in Perth, which will accommodate approximately 750 project people when construction is complete in 2010.
In April 2009, the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority recommended that the revised and expanded Gorgon Project could proceed on Barrow Island subject to certain conditions.
The Wheatstone Project moved into the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase in July 2009.
Final environmental approvals for the Gorgon Project were awarded by the Western Australian and Federal Governments in August 2009.
Chevron also announced two natural gas finds in August 2009, with the Clio-2 and Kentish Knock-1 discoveries in Chevron-operated permits in the Carnarvon Basin.
A final investment decision (FID) was made on the Gorgon Project in September 2009.
Chevron also announced in September that it had entered into three binding sale and purchase agreements (SPAs) for nearly 3 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas (LNG) into Japan and South Korea, the world’s two largest LNG import markets. It has also signed two SPAs for the sale of equity in the Gorgon Project.
Apache and KUFPEC also joined the Wheatstone Project as gas suppliers and equity participants.
The $27 billion North West Shelf Venture is celebrating 25 years of domestic gas production and 20 years of LNG exports to international customers in the Asia Pacific region in 2009.
In 2010, Chevron continued its exploration success with five gas discoveries in WA. It also saw Chevron receive an APPEA award for excellence in innovation and environmental management, and the Gorgon Project’s quarantine management system receive the environmental category award from the WA Division of Engineers Australia.
Nippon Oil signed Gorgon Heads of Agreement (HOA) for the delivery of 0.3mtpa of LNG for 15 years, and Kyusu Electric signed multiple agreements for the delivery of LNG from both Gorgon and Wheatstone.
The Wheatstone Project continued to gain momentum in 2010 with Chevron and KOGAS signing major LNG and equity agreements for the project, and joint operating agreements (JOA) signed with Apache and KUFPEC.
A binding heads of agreement (HOA) with native title holders, the Thalanyji People of Onslow was also signed in 2010 for the Wheatstone Project.
Chevron Australia was awarded the 2010 WA Employer of the Year.
The Wheatstone Project welcomed Shell as a gas supplier and equity participant in 2011, and the project received final environmental approval from the WA and Federal Government prior to reaching a final investment decision (FID) on 26 September 2011. Construction began on site in Ashburton North in December 2011.
January 2012 saw Chevron announce its thirteenth offshore discovery in Australia since mid-2009.