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UPDATE 1-Chevron temporarily halts production unit at Australia LNG plant

* Marks latest in string of stoppages on project

* Chevron does not say how long outage will last (Adds trader comment, detail)

MELBOURNE/SINGAPORE Nov 30 Chevron Corp said on Wednesday that it had temporarily halted output from one of the two production units at its Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant off Australia's west coast.

That marks the latest in a string of outages to hit the $54 billion project since it started up in March.

"Production from Gorgon LNG Train 1 has been temporarily halted as we assess some recent performance variations," a spokeswoman for Chevron, operator of Gorgon, said in an emailed statement.

"Train 2 production is unaffected, and we continue to produce LNG and load cargoes."

Chevron did not indicate how long the shutdown would last.

The energy major is now seeking three prompt LNG cargoes, said trading sources with knowledge of the matter. Chevron did not cover this in its statement.

A Singapore-based trader said Chevron started looking for cargoes around two days ago, likely to help it meet term supply deals. He declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak with media.

The buying of prompt cargoes is not expected to have an immediate impact on spot prices LNG-AS, which are currently principally being influenced by deals for the January delivery of cargoes to Asia.

Spot prices for January and February deliveries could rise depending on the length of the shutdown and when the LNG train resumes production, the traders said.

Gorgon will have the capacity to produce 15.6 million tonnes of LNG per year once all three of its production trains are operating.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul and Mark Tay in Singapore; Editing by Tom Hogue and Joseph Radford)

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