ChevronTexaco is hoping to gain state government approvals early next year for its latest development plan for the Gorgon gas field off the coast of Dampier in Western Australia. WA state development minister Clive Brown said late Friday the government has agreed to examine proposals for development of Gorgon, including the possible use of a "small area" on Barrow Island for a gas processing facility. ChevronTexaco plans to undertake a strategic environmental, social and economic study on the use of Barrow Island for the proposed development. "We're trying to get a Cabinet decision on access to Barrow Island in the first quarter of next year," said Peter Coghlan, a ChevronTexaco spokesman. ChevronTexaco is the operator of a small oil production facility on Barrow Island, which is a nature reserve. But the company is now looking at the possibility of processing gas from Gorgon on the island. The concept involves delivering the gas via a corrosion resistant pipeline to a processing unit on Barrow Island, where the gas can be conditioned and delivered to customers. Gorgon is a large, remote field that lacks any oil byproducts, as well as being relatively high in carbon dioxide.
But ChevronTexaco has recently stepped up its marketing efforts, including the opening of several Gorgon offices in targeted Asian countries. The WA government said it will only consider the latest proposal after a " rigorous, accountable and transparent examination" of the ramifications of a new development on the nature reserve. Rhonda Zygocki, managing director of ChevronTexaco in Australia, said she is confident the strategic study will demonstrate that Barrow Island can be "sustainably used" for the Gorgon development. Shell Australia chairman Alan Parsley said the Gorgon development is now an attractive proposition. "We see this development on Barrow Island as the key to commercializing the Gorgon gas reserves," he said.