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Update on Chevron inspections of Gorgon LNG plant due Friday - regulator

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MELBOURNE/SINGAPORE, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Western Australia's industrial safety regulator said it will provide an update later on Friday on the outcome of Chevron Corp's inspections of two of the three processing units at its giant Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.

Traders are keenly awaiting word as the Gorgon plant produces 15.6 million tonnes of LNG annually, or about 4.5% of the global trade in LNG in 2019.

The regulator ordered Chevron two weeks ago to carry out the inspections on propane heat exchangers on Trains 1 and 3 at the plant by Aug. 21, after weld problems were found on propane kettles in Train 2 during scheduled maintenance.

If problems are found in the kettle welds of Trains 1 and 3, Chevron may have to shut them for repair. Train 2 is due to be restarted in early September after maintenance was extended for two months for the weld repairs.

Chevron had no immediate comment on the outcome of the inspections.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety said it would provide an update on Friday.

Two Singapore-based LNG traders said Chevron has informed Gorgon customers it can supply them from Wheatstone and North West Shelf LNG, raising speculation Trains 1 and 3 will be shut.

The company is also in the market looking to buy LNG cargoes for October through December, the traders said.

"It will be a bullish winter if a big (supply) source like this has issues, especially if it is a cold winter," one of the traders said.

Chevron declined to comment on customer contracts, as they are confidential.

Chevron is operator and 47.3% owner of Gorgon. Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Group each own 25% stakes in the project, while Japan's Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas and JERA hold the remainder.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)