(EnergyAsia, February 26, Thursday) — US major Chevron Corp said its seven-well exploration and appraisal programme for the Wheatstone and Iago fields in northwest Australia has proved that they hold enough natural gas reserves to support a two-train Wheatstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) and domestic gas project.

In late 2008, Chevron had announced plans to locate the Wheatstone project at Ashburton North near Onslow and expects to enter front-end engineering and design in the second half of 2009.

George Kirkland, executive vice president of Chevron Global Upstream and Gas, said:

“The success with the recent appraisal program moves the Wheatstone project a step closer to commercialisation. The Wheatstone project offers a strategic opportunity for Chevron and third parties to develop natural gas resources in the western Carnarvon Basin, as well as deliver energy, jobs and economic benefits to Australia.

 “The Wheatstone project, together with Gorgon, is an important part of Chevron’s strategy to develop its large natural gas resource base in Australia and be a leading supplier of LNG. In support of these two major capital projects, the company intends to undertake its largest-ever drilling campaign in Australia.”

Discovered in 2004, Chevron said its wholly-owned Wheatstone Field is located in the WA-253-P and WA-17-R permit areas. The field is 200 km north of Onslow in water depths of around 200 meters.

The adjacent Iago Field was discovered in 2000 and spans two retention permits, WA-17-R, which is wholly owned by Chevron Australia, and WA-16-R, in which Shell Development Australia Pty Ltd. has a one-third share, with Chevron holding the remainder.