People, Partnerships and Performance Since the Early 1950s


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 Project. 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 Project 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.

Historic TEXACO delivery truck

Pioneering Australian Energy

In 1984 first gas was delivered from the North West Shelf Project 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 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.

A final investment decision (FID) was made on the Gorgon Project in September 2009.

The $27 billion North West Shelf Project celebrated 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 receive an APPEA award for excellence in innovation and environmental management, and the Gorgon Project’s quarantine management system received the environmental category award from the WA Division of Engineers Australia.

Chevron Australia was also named WA Employer of the Year in 2010.


Atwood Osprey drill rig

In May 2011, Chevron Australia took delivery of the Atwood Osprey drill rig. The rig is a sixth generation ultra-deepwater semi-submersible rig able to conventionally moor in up to 2,438m (8,000 feet of water) and accommodate up to 200 people.

The Wheatstone 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. 

In 2012, Chevron reaffirmed its commitment to the environment and highlighted that with the Gorgon Joint Venture participants, it had committed $62.5 million to establish the North West Shelf Flatback Sea Turtle Conservation Program.

October 31, 2012, was a special day for the University of Western Australia's Chevron Chair of Gas Process Engineering, Winthrop Professor Eric May, who was announced winner of the prestigious Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year. Professor May was presented the Australian Prime Minister Award at a special dinner at Parliament House in Canberra.

In October 2013, Chevron Australia announced it had acquired new acreage offshore Australia in two offshore blocks located in the Bight Basin, a deepwater frontier basin. Blocks S12-2 and S12-3, which span more than 32,000 square kilometres (eight million acres), are located approximately 443 kilometres (275 miles) west of Port Lincoln off the South Australian coast. Chevron Australia is the operator with a 100 percent interest.

In May 2013, Chevron confirmed its commitment to local businesses in Australia and announced that it had already spent a massive $30 billion with local suppliers as part of the development of the Gorgon and Wheatstone Projects. The two natural gas projects had also created 14,000 direct and indirect jobs across Australia – 10,000 on Gorgon and 4,000 on Wheatstone.

At the end of 2013, Chevron had reaffirmed its success with the drill bit, with 20-plus new gas discoveries offshore northwest Australia.

By early 2014, 600 contracts had been awarded to Australian businesses involved with the Gorgon and Wheatstone Projects. The year 2014 also highlighted the fact Chevron had already committed more than $200 million through the Gorgon and Wheatstone Projects in environmental offsets and conservation benefits.

In April 2014, Chevron Australia won the inaugural Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) Environment Excellence Award. The award acknowledged Chevron's demonstrated overall excellence against a broad suite of criteria. The judges said the company's Operational Excellence Management System enabled employees, team leaders and senior staff to evaluate environmental performance, seek continuous improvement and strive for environmental excellence.

In front of an array of leading Australian dignitaries in May 2014, the American Australian Association honoured Chevron Australia Managing Director Roy Krzywosinski. The award recognised Chevron's significant investment in Australia and the mutual benefits it brought both nations.

In March 2015, Chevron was named a winner in the Industry category of the 2015 Australian Biosecurity Awards. We were acknowledged for our proud and successful environmental stewardship legacy on Barrow Island, where we have operated Australia’s largest onshore oilfield for more than 50 years.