SAN RAMON, Calif., March 8 (UPI) -- Chevron said Tuesday it started up its $54 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas project in Australia, boosting its market prospects for the Asia-Pacific.
The Australian subsidiary of Chevron started the cooling process to turn gas into LNG in January. The company said Gorgon, which will eventually produce 15.6 million tons of LNG per year, will be a long-term supplier of natural gas to customers in the Asia-Pacific region.
"The long-term fundamentals for LNG are attractive, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, and this is a significant milestone for all involved," Chevron Chairman and CEO John Watson said in a statement.
Chevron in December signed a non-binding agreement with China Huadian Green Energy for the delivery of up to 1 million metric tons of LNG per year over 10 years, starting in 2020. China is expected to become the largest importer of energy in the world by 2035.
The LNG move for Chevron comes as energy companies are on the decline because energy prices are lower in an oversupplied market. The company reported a loss of $588 million for the fourth quarter, compared with year-on-year earnings of $3.5 billion.
It was its first loss in more than 10 years and follows a workforce reduction in 2015 of around 2 percent.
Chevron in its Gorgon announcement said it expects to be a major LNG supplier by the end of the decade.
"We expect legacy assets such as Gorgon will drive long-term growth and create shareholder value for decades to come," Watson said.
The first official cargo of LNG from Gorgon is expected next week.