JAPAN’S Chubu Electric Power will receive the first liquefied natural gas cargo produced by the Chevron-operated Gorgon project, after the first shipment departed Barrow Island in March.

The delivery, to a part owner of Gorgon and one of its foundation buyers, highlighted Chevron’s growing leadership as an LNG supplier, the company said in an announcement.

The LNG cargo will be delivered by the Asia Excellence, one of six new state-of-the-art LNG carriers launched by Chevron in one of its largest shipbuilding and fleet modernisation programs.

Chevron midstream and development executive vice president Mike Wirth said the milestone underscored the company’s commitment to growing its business in Asia.

“Departure of the first cargo from the Gorgon Project is a key milestone in our commitment to be a reliable LNG provider for customers across the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

“This is also important for our investors as we begin to generate revenue from a project we expect will operate for decades to come.”

Chevron chief executive John Watson said he expected legacy assets such as Gorgon would drive long-term growth for the company for decades to come, citing the prospects for ongoing demand across the Asia Pacific.

“The long-term fundamentals for LNG are attractive, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, and this is a significant milestone for all involved,” he said.

“This is the result of the collaboration of hundreds of suppliers and contractors and many tens of thousands of people across the world during the project design and construction phases.”

“We congratulate the Gorgon workforce on this achievement,” he said.

Australian resources minister Josh Frydenberg said the project was the largest single private investment ever undertaken in Australia and would make a significant contribution to the economy over its expected 40 year plus lifespan.

“The project includes the world’s largest commercial-scale carbon capture and storage initiative, reducing the project’s emissions by around 40 per cent or 3.6 million tonnes per year,” he said.

“This is nearly six times greater than any other project in the world. It also has the largest subsea infrastructure ever built, with more than 800 kilometres of pipelines installed.”

Shadow Minister for Resources Gary Gray also welcomed the start of exports, saying establishing an LNG project with geosequestration was “like a dream come true.”

“First Export gas is a terrific achievement, I congratulate the whole Gorgon team,” Mr Gray said.

“For the workers, management, customers and regulators, this is an achievement of global significance.”

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett said 455 contracts had been awarded to Western Australian companies for goods and services over the construction portion of the project, with more than $34 billion invested in Australian businesses.

“As the project moves into production, its longstanding benefits include operational and maintenance jobs, the provision of domestic gas and the payment of State taxes,” he said.

He also paid tribute to Chevron and its joint venture partners for their work to maintain Barrow Island, where the project’s 15.6 million tonne per annum LNG plant is located, as a Class A Nature Reserve.

“Working together, the State Government and the joint venture partners have managed to ensure Barrow Island’s environmental integrity has been maintained through strict quarantine conditions,” Mr Barnett said.

“I congratulate Chevron Australia and its joint venture partners on this important milestone, and look forward to seeing the benefits of this project flow through the Western Australian economy for decades to come.”

The Gorgon project is a joint venture between Chevron (47.3%), ExxonMobil (25%), Shell (25%), Osaka Gas (1.25%), Tokyo Gas (1%) and Chubu Electric Power (0.417%).