The Fair Work Commission recently gave the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union the right to launch protected action ballots over taking industrial action against key Gorgon project contractor CB&I Constructors as enterprise agreement negotiations broke down.
Both unions are in the process of finalising their lists of eligible employees for future ballots with press speculation that any potential strike action could not occur until September.
"Chevron was believed to have mitigation measures in place to minimise the impact of any industrial action on the start-up schedule of the project," Fairfax Media claimed yesterday.
This is believed to be Chevron's right, under the industrial relations regime, to lock out workers from the Barrow Island-based project and bring in others to perform their work.
However, the relevant unions are not too worried by this prospect given that Chevron would also need to somehow find an accommodation solution to bring in any new workers.
"Accommodation on Barrow is incredibly tight," a union spokesman told Energy News.
Bringing in the flotel Europa to the site was also deemed to have been a huge logistical exercise that Chevron might not want to repeat.
EA negotiations have primarily stalled over the unions' push for a more family-friendly work roster of 20 days on and 10 days off compared to the previous 28 on 9 off schedule - with the flagged small increases to salaries not under dispute.
The union ballots are expected to ask their members if they supported an unlimited number of stoppages on work for between 30 minutes and up to 24 hours, along with work bans on administrative work.
Chevron is expecting to export its first Gorgon LNG cargo by late 2015.
The $US54 billion ($A73.3 billion) Gorgon project has been considered more than 90% built for some time and is targeting 15.6 million tonnes per annum of LNG capacity.
The Gorgon joint venture comprises Chevron (47.3%) ExxonMobil (25%), Royal Dutch Shell (25%) and Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas and Chubu Electric Power, which each have a holding of less than 2%.
Chevron is expected provide a Gorgon update as part of its June quarter results reporting on July 31.