Getting anything to Chevron’s gas-processing plant on Barrow Island is a bit of a trick.
Some supplies travel 15 hours from Perth to a supply base for shipping. En route, trucks cannot stop under trees, to avoid picking up bugs and bird droppings. When people and cargo finally make it to the island, an army of 300 enforces a quarantine: Every Velcro strap on clothing and bags is checked for seed pods, boots are scrubbed free of dirt and pants with cuffs never even make it ashore.
Such measures are intended to protect the island’s unique wildlife. But these and other logistical issues have also piled complexity and cost onto the gas facility, called Gorgon.
The original $37 billion price tag has ballooned to $54 billion. It is an especially big cost to swallow while energy prices have slumped.