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Chevron, Shell Discover Gas in Australian Deep Waters

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By Dinakar Sethuraman and Greg Chang

Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) — Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. discovered natural gas deposits in the deep waters of Western Australia, the world’s sixth-biggest liquefied natural gas supplier.

Clio-2 is located in 990 meters (3,200 feet) of water and the Kentish Knock-1 deposit is in 1,200 meters of water, Chevron said in an e-mailed statement today. The deposits are located in the Exmouth Plateau, the deepwater frontier of the Carnarvon Basin, where Woodside Petroleum Ltd.’s Pluto LNG is also based.

“These two gas discoveries demonstrate our commitment to actively exploring and developing Western Australia’s world- class gas resources,” Chevron Australia Managing Director Roy Krzywosinski said in the statement.

Chevron, Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp. may approve the Gorgon LNG project in Western Australia this year and Chevron is also developing a second LNG project at Wheatstone in the same region. Chevron and Shell won the rights to a deepwater exploration permit off Western Australia in the Exmouth Plateau, Chevron said on Aug. 17.

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has estimated the value of the Gorgon project at A$50 billion ($41 billion), while Chevron hasn’t confirmed or denied the figure.

China’s Demand

Australia seeks to overtake Qatar as the world’s largest LNG supplier as companies including Santos Ltd., ConocoPhillips, Origin Energy Ltd., BG Group Plc and Inpex Corp. are developing more than a dozen LNG projects to tap gas extracted from coal seams or conventional sources for conversion to liquid form to start production in the next decade.

Exxon agreed yesterday to sell 2.25 million metric tons a year of LNG from Australia’s Gorgon project to PetroChina Co. in a $41 billion deal. Shell is also in talks to sell 2 million tons of LNG from Gorgon to PetroChina.

LNG is natural gas that has been chilled to liquid form, reducing it to one-six-hundredth of its original volume at minus 161 degrees Celsius (minus 259 Fahrenheit), for transportation by ship to destinations not connected by pipeline.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dinakar Sethuraman in Singapore at [email protected].

Last Updated: August 19, 2009 00:01 EDT

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