Gorgon could be delayed until 2016
AUSTRALIA'S largest gas project Gorgon could be delayed until at least 2016 as joint venture partners Chevron and Shell differ on the expected start-up date.
It follows a series of delays and cost blowouts to the massive $US54 billion ($A60.02 billion) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in north Western Australia.
Shell chief executive Ben Van Beurden presented a table to analysts overnight showing the estimated start-up date for the massive 450 million ton project had been pushed back to between 2016 to 2018.
Shell's presentation in London contradicts lead partner's Chevron's assurances that the project is on track to begin in mid-2015.
Chevron this week reiterated its start-up date for first gas next year.
In December last year, Chevron pushed back the time-frame from the first quarter of 2015 and announced the cost of the project had blown out by $US2 billion to $US54 billion.
A spokeswoman for Royal Dutch Shell, which has a 25 per cent stake in Gorgon, referred questions about the start-up time to Chevron.
The original budgeted cost of Gorgon was $US37 billion when it was given the green light in 2009.
Earlier this week, Chevron said Gorgon was almost 80 per cent complete, with two thirds of the gas already committed to buyers.
Offshore pipelaying was now complete and 65 per cent of the LNG from Gorgon had been committed under long-term contracts.
Mr Beurden also reaffirmed the company's $US15 billion target for asset sales over 2014-15 but made no mention of whether it would include a sell down of its stake in Perth-based Woodside Petroleum.
Royal Dutch Shell, a joint venture partner in Woodside's Browse project in Western Australia, has previously indicated it will begin an asset sales program.
Analysts predict Shell could reap $US6.95 ($A7.82) billion by selling its 23.1 per cent interest in Woodside.
Mr Beurden said the company had already announced more than $US4.5 billion of asset sales, including equity in the Wheatstone LNG stake and downstream businesses in Australia.
"There are more divestments to come reaching an expected $US15 billion for 2014 and 2015 combined," Mr Beurden told analysts.
Shell also said start-up for its 110 million ton Prelude floating LNG project would be between 2016 2018.
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