30% Production Reduction, Alcoa Announced Due to Gas Scarcity in Western Australia

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Alcoa, which operates its Kwinana refinery jointly with Alumina Ltd., has been obliged to announce a 30% reduction in production due to a scarcity of gas in Western Australia.

Alcoa Corp, a leading aluminium producer, announced Thursday that it has returned to using gas to fuel boilers at its partially owned Kwinana and Pinjarra alumina refineries in Western Australia. This announcement comes one week after the company resorted to using diesel due to a gas shortage in the area. 

“Kwinana refinery continues to operate with one production unit offline, and reduced process flows,” Alcoa said

Alcoa did not provide a timetable for restoring total production, though.

The gas shortage was caused by a breakdown in the Dampier-to-Bunbury natural gas pipeline, which supplies several industries in Western Australia. Alcoa was forced to switch its operations to diesel due to this breakdown.

The company stated that it received sufficient gas supply from alternative sources to return its Kwinana and Pinjarra operations to their normal, natural gas fuel supply. Alcoa is currently working with its suppliers to ensure that its gas supply remains stable in the future.

In addition, Alcoa has implemented a number of measures over the last week to reduce fuel consumption at its Kwinana and Pinjarra sites, including reducing operating hours and re-purposing diesel for other processes.

Alcoa Corp is committed to providing reliable operations to its customers and is relieved that the gas supply situation has been resolved. It is expected that the company’s operations will return to normal shortly.

Chevron Corp (CVX.N) on Wednesday re-commenced gas supply from Wheatstone domestic gas plant to the Western Australia market after an equipment failure knocked off the energy firm’s 215 terajoules-a-day Wheatstone plant on Jan. 5,” said Reuters.

The Varanus Island facility of Santos Ltd (STO.AX), which has been closed since late November due to a leak on a gas pipeline from an offshore platform, suffered a supply loss in addition to the Wheatstone outage.

Alcoa said that Santos continued to suffer production limitations at two gas plants despite a rise in the amount of gas supplied to the domestic market in Western Australia.

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