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Gorgon area general manager Colin Beckett. Image courtesy of Chevron.

Chevron executive Colin Beckett, general manager of the $54 billion Gorgon project, will retire this year.

Beckett, 66, will leave his post on November 18, just a year before first gas from Gorgon is expected.

He will continue to serve as chancellor of Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.

Chevron said that Beckett’s retirement is voluntary.

Gorgon has seen a number of cost overruns and production delays.

The project was initially expected to cost $37 billion and start up operations at the end of this year.

However, the project is now slated to cost $54 billion and first gas is not expected until the middle of 2015 at the earliest.

“Colin’s visible leadership in guiding the Gorgon project over the years has been outstanding and he has contributed significantly to setting the project up for success for years to come,” Chevron Australia managing director Roy Krzywosinski said.

Beckett’s exit may be the first of many change ups at Chevron Australia as the unit shifts its focus from construction to operations, the Western Australian said.

The Gorgon Project is developing the Gorgon and Jansz-Io gas fields, located in the Greater Gorgon area, between 80 miles and 136 miles off the northwest coast of Western Australia.

It includes the construction of a 15.6 million tonne per annum liquefied natural gas plant on Barrow Island and a domestic gas plant with the capacity to supply 300 terajoules of gas per day to Western Australia.

Chevron operates the Gorgon project with a 47.3 percent stake. ExxonMobil holds a 25 percent stake, Royal Dutch Shell holds a 25 percent stake, Japan’s Osaka Gas holds a 1.25 percent, Tokyo Gas holds a 1 percent stake and Japan’s Chubu Electric Power holds a 0.417 percent stake.