A LACK of pre-wiring of the modules which are to be installed at the Wheatstone site is a “major uncertainty” for the project going forward, a partner in the project has said.

Speaking to analysts at the release of Woodside’s full-year results on 18 February, Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said workers on the Chevron-operated site were moving forward in connecting the modules, which had arrived at the Wheatstone site later than expected.

“The major uncertainty is actually the way the modules have been prepared though in the yard, and that’s something that we’ll watch very closely with respect to productivity at Onslow,” he said.

“That uncertainty is around the fact that these modules did not come pre-wired with respect to their electrical systems and so forth.”

Wheatstone has been designed to have an above-ground electrical supply system, instead of the underground culvert system in place at Woodside’s sites at the North West Shelf and Pluto, Mr Coleman said.

This method allowed the electrical cabling to be pre-installed, Mr Coleman added in the discussion with investors.

“Our understanding is that cabling activity is progressing well, but it’s early days,” Mr Coleman said.

“So I’d tell you today that’s probably the biggest uncertainty, is productivity if we get around the hook up of the cabling.”

In an earnings call released for Chevron Corporation’s fourth quarter announcement, Chevron chief executive John Watson said the pace of piping and cabling work at the project would determine the critical path towards first LNG, expected to be in mid-2017.

“Six of nine wells are drilled and completed offering sufficient well capacity for the first train. At the plant site, the operations centre and LNG loading jetty are complete and tank hydro testing is ongoing,” he said.

Train two module deliveries were on track, with the trunkline ready for service and final tie-in work ongoing, he added.

Mr Coleman said he agreed with Chevron’s predicted start-up window, telling analysts that Woodside felt efficiency of capital was the most important factor.

“While we would all have loved to have held onto a 1 January start-up, the reality is, as you know at this point we could have spent a lot of money and not seen many results from that,” he said.

“The guidance that they’ve provided to market is guidance we’re very comfortable with.”

Mr Coleman added that the Woodside-operated Julimar project was 80 per cent complete and on schedule for start-up in the second half of 2016, ahead of Wheatstone – to which it will be supplying gas under the parties’ agreement.