Australia’s hottest day in 60 years triggers gas plant outage

The temperature hit 50.7 degrees Celsius (123 degrees Fahrenheit) in a part of Western Australia on Thursday.
Image: AdobeStock

Australia matched the country’s highest temperature on record, triggering a bushfire warning and temporarily shutting a natural gas export plant.

A production train at Woodside Petroleum Ltd.’s North West Shelf liquefied natural gas export plant in Western Australia suffered a brief outage this week due to the spike in temperatures. Several bushfire alerts are in effect in Western Australia, including one at the Wheatstone LNG export plant, according to the state government’s website.

The temperature hit 50.7 degrees Celsius (123 degrees Fahrenheit) in a part of Western Australia on Thursday, matching a national record set in 1960, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. A severe heatwave is forecast through Saturday in some parts of the Pilbara region, the country’s iron ore production hub that hosts mines operated by companies including BHP Group and Rio Tinto Group.

Extreme weather events fueled by climate change are happening more frequently around the world, from droughts in Brazil to a deep freeze in Texas, threatening to disrupt supply chains and trigger blackouts. Australia, which is still recovering from 2019-20’s extreme fire season, has recently been hit with severe flooding in the east after the BOM declared a La Nina event.

The cost of Australia’s extreme weather disasters including wildfires in the decade through 2019 was A$35 billion ($25 billion), more than double that in the 1970s, lobby group Climate Council said in a report last year.

Train 4 at the Woodside facility shut after the heat tripped the electrical system, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity to discuss private deals. The train is slated to restart operations on Friday.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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