SAN RAMON, Calif., April 6 (UPI) -- A mechanical issue at one of the facilities cooling gas to liquid form at the Gorgon project in Australia forced the shutdown of operations, Chevron said.
Chevron's Australian subsidiary said liquefied natural gas production at the facility located on Barrow Island off the northwest coast of Australia is shut down. Inspection teams were on site working to assess the repairs necessary for a cooling system.
"Based on initial findings, the repair work is of a routine nature and all the necessary equipment and material is available on site," the company said in a statement. "A restart of the plant within 30-60 days is estimated at this time."
Chevron made the first delivery of LNG from its multi-billion dollar Gorgon project less than a month ago with a shipment to Japanese company Chubu Electric Power.
The project will eventually produce 15.6 million tons of LNG per year. The U.S. energy company said LNG is an "essential fuel" for markets across Asia.
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.
Chevron said it still aims to build capacity at the facility over the next few months with construction on schedule for additional cooling operations at the Gorgon project.
The mechanical issue at Gorgon is a setback for Chevron, which 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.