The massive Gorgon LNG project may give both Australia and Greek mythology a shot in the arm
It was very disappointing for my inner nerd to find out that the Gorgon liquid natural gas (LNG) project in Western Australia was not named after the mythological beast.
Gorgons can, according to Greek legend, turn a person to stone simply by looking at them; the snake-haired Medusa is probably the most notorious of the gorgons. Most remember Medusa as one of the stop-motion animated monsters that actor Harry Hamlin must fight in the 1981 camp/fantasy classic Clash of the Titans (see image above).
The LNG project got its name, however, from the Greater Gorgon gas fields about 200 kilometers off the coast of Australia. These fields are reported to contain roughly 40 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and may have a lifespan of 60 years. At current market prices, the gas in these fields is estimated to be worth around $445bn (€302bn).
The size and scope of the Gorgon LNG project taking place now in Australia is amazing; really exciting and impressive stuff by all accounts. When completed, Gorgon is expected to provide 8% of current global LNG capacity, about 15m tonnes/year.
The project is a joint venture (JV) between petroleum giants Chevron (who is a 50% owner), ExxonMobil (25%) and Royal Dutch Shell (25%), and work on its first phase has already begun, and is expected to cost Australian $43bn ($38.2bn). At its phase of greatest construction, the project is expected to be hiring approximately 10,000.
Australia's minister of energy, Martin Ferguson, said at a press conference in mid-September that Gorgon would make his country "an energy superpower." Ferguson went on to say that LNG could bring in almost A$100bn in investments over the next 18 months.
Meanwhile, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association estimates that Gorgon and other LNG projects there represent A$220bn in investments, which could contributed A$10bn/year in taxes and government revenue.
Against logic and reason, I was really hoping that the project had been given that name because it sounded so darn cool, and that someone somewhere in the Chevron-ExxonMobil-Shell JV thought the same way, too. Oh well....
But since global energy needs are growing, there will be more LNG projects to come, so I will not give up hope.
I do not foresee petchem facilities turning away from being named by geographic designations, but I am counting on new gas and oil fields being labeled classically:
The Cyclopes Cracker
Minotaur Oil Range
The Hydra NatGas Field
And so on....