Union raises concerns at Gorgon
Mining News Pro - The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is calling for the shutdown of the Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, in Western Australia, claiming reports of "massive cracks" in pressurized propane kettles.

The AMWU said in a statement that cracks of up to 1 m long and 30 mm deep have been discovered on the pressurized propane kettles on Train 2 of the LNG project.

“The reports we’re hearing of over eight kettles being damaged represents a serious failure in this critical piece of kit,” AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said.

“If multiple kettles are showing cracks in testing on Train 2, there is a high risk there are cracks in the vessels on other trains. If these cracks are in the vessels, they cannot be fixed and need to be replaced immediately.

“These kettles are carrying pressurized propane, and the trains are lined up next to each other on the plate. We’re hearing from workers that they’re fearful for their safety and are reluctant to even go out to the blast-proof wall. We share their fears,” McCartney added.

Some 800 staff are currently working at Gorgon, which is one of the world’s largest LNG projects, and the largest single resource project in Australia. The project comprises three trains, a 15.6-million-tonne-a-year LNG facility and a domestic gas plant.

Project operator Chevron told The Sydney Morning Herald that inspections were ongoing on the Train 2 propane heat exchangers as part of the maintenance turnaround at the train, which started in May.

“Learnings from the current maintenance event will inform future turnarounds and afford the same opportunities for improvements," the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

"Across the Chevron-operated Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities, the company has scheduled a turnaround every year for the next four years."

The project is operated by US major Chevron, and is jointly owned by ExxonMovil, Shell, Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas and JERA.

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