GORGON: AUS $43bn
PNG LNG: AUS $12.5bn
GLADSTONE: AUS $7.7bn
CURTIS ISLAND: AUS $30bn
AUSTRALIA’S ECONOMIC STRENGTH
Australia is currently experiencing a significant boost to it’s already robust economy. Funding has been approved for some of the world’s largest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) developments with the potential of putting Australia in the top 3 of the world’s LNG producers.
Australia’s recovery from the global financial crisis is dependent on its ability to create long term economic stability through the creation of jobs and development of trade. One of the cornerstones of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product lies in its vast mineral reserves. With international economies in the Far East continuing to rapidly develop, Australia has benefited considerably from this growth. In order to maintain private and public revenues through the sale of mineral reserves, Australia must diversify to accommodate changing international energy and resource demands.
The LNG boom in Australia has the unique benefit of providing substantial rewards to both private entities and state/federal governments in both the short and long term. Initial construction and start-up works create thousands of employment opportunities, drawing on existing talent in each respective region, and attracting interstate/international construction specialists to complete these ‘mega-projects’. Once operational, a substantial workforce is required to ensure production is maintained to meet consumer demands. In addition both state and federal governments will generate substantial royal ties and tax revenues, valued in the billions. These revenues will not only continue to develop the nation’s infrastructure, but also assist in the stabilisation of Australia’s economy.
With a guaranteed revenue stream developing through the sale of LNG to overseas markets; Australia places itself in a formidable position within the Asia Pacific region. This revenue creates a great deal of economic security, an essential factor in the insurance of the nation’s future growth and development.
In summary, LNG projects will create long term employment opportunities in Australia, whilst generating substantial revenues to its economy. These steps keep Australia at the forefront of energy markets as the world looks to move from hydrocarbons to cleaner energy fuels.
THE LNG PROCESS
The LNG process typically involves extracting the gas (Australia has very rich deposits of natural & coal seam gas). It is then transported to a processing plant where it is purified by removing water, mud and oil as well as other gases such as CO2 and H2S. The purified gas is then cooled down in stages until it is liquefied. LNG is then stored in storage tanks ready to be loaded up and shipped out. This process provides a cost effective method of transporting large quantities of gas for sale globally.
A SAMPLE OF AUSTRALIA’S LNG PROJECTS UNDER DEVELOPMENT
GORGON – Western Australia
Value: AUS$43 billion
Overview: The Gorgon Project is being developed by the Gorgon Joint Venture, which consists of 3 major international energy companies: Chevron Australia, Shell Australia and Mobil Australia (a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil). The plant will consist of 3 LNG trains, each producing a capacity of 5 million tonnes per annum.
Timeframe: Project completion estimated 2015.
Expected Workforce: 10,000 jobs at peak construction.
CURTIS ISLAND LNG (QCLNG) – Queensland
Value: AUS$30 billion
Overview: BG Group’s project will develop coal seam gas from the Surat Basin in Queensland for Australian and international markets. The project is being assessed for its environmental and social impact. The operator will develop 3 principal components to the project; expansion of existing gas field, construction of a 380km pipeline and the construction of initially 3 LNG trains.
Timeframe: Project completion estimated 2013.
Expected Workforce: 4,000 jobs at peak construction.
PNG LNG – Papua New Guinea
Value: AUS$12.5 billion (early estimate)
Overview: The PNG LNG project is operated by Esso Highlands Limited, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation, on behalf of the joint-ventures which include Oil Search, Santos, Nippon Oil and Eda Oil. The major upstream infrastructure civil works have started. The LNG project proposes to develop gas fields in PNG and transport the gas via pipeline to an LNG facility near Port Moresby for shipment to markets overseas. The final investment decision and project sanction are due later this year.
Timeframe: Project completion estimated 2013.
Expected Workforce: 7,500 jobs at peak construction.
GLADSTONE LNG – Queensland
Value: AUS$7.7 billion
Overview: Following a worldwide tender process, Santos has selected Malaysia’s PETRONAS, one of the world’s largest LNG producer s, to be its 40% partner in the development, operation and marketing of the company’s proposed Gladstone LNG project. Santos and PETRONAS will form a 60/40 joint venture company to develop the multi billion dollar project, including upstream field development, liquefication plant and associated infrastructure. Both parties will develop and operate a 50km gas pipeline and an LNG liquefication plant.
Timeframe: Project completion estimated 2013.
Expected Workforce: 4,000 jobs at peak construction.
THE GORGON PROJECT IN FOCUS
It’s been described as a one project stimulus package. The Gorgon Project will supply 8% of the worlds LNG. In August 2009 an LNG supply contract was signed between Exxon Mobil and PetroChina, with a total 20 year export value of $50 billion. This is one of the single largest Australian export contracts ever awarded.
The field is located 130km off the coast of Western Australia, processing and storage will take place on the nearby Bar row Island. Gas was originally discovered here in 1981 and almost 3 decades later final approval has at last been granted. It’s been a rocky road experiencing political, financial and environmental obstacles. The project almost went ahead in the late 90’s but was shelved due to the Asian financial crisis.
Worldwide demand is growing for LNG as it’s a relatively clean burning fuel. However, the environmental impact of extracting, processing and storage can be high. The project will inject 3.5 billion tonnes of CO2 a year into a reservoir under Barrow Island, a ‘class A’ nature reserve. In August 2009, after listing 28 new conditions to protect the Barrow Island ecosystem the Environment Minister Peter Garrett approved the project and work is now underway preparing the early works on the 300ha site.
In September 2009, the EPCM contract was awarded to the Kellogg Joint Venture (KJVG). Led by KBR the JV consists of partners JGC, Clough and Hatch. This vast (estimated at AUS$2.7 billion in value) contract will involve the execution and construction of the LNG facility on Barrow Island. The EPCM is executing a modular construction approach to minimise environmental impact during the construction phase. Several fabrication yards across Asia and Australia will produce the 250,000 tonnes of LNG modules.
Other contracts awarded include:
- Toll Group’s deal to manage the supply base and logistics services.
- Mermaid Marine were early beneficiaries with a contract to expand the Dampier Supply Base.
- A Leighton Holdings subsidiary has been awarded site preparation and temporary facilities contracts.
- Decmil and its JV partners have the contract to build the 3,300 person accommodation village.
Decmil, a major contractor in the LNG market have recently completed a large contract for PLUTO LNG. Scott Criddle, the award winning CEO for Decmil commented ‘As a company, a main feature of our continued success has been down to the quality of the staff we employ. It is essential that we recruit and retain our staff in order for us to continue to grow successfully. We are al ready looking at ways to attract high calibre staff both offshore and domestically. In order for us to be well positioned to exceed our client’s expectations, large project experience is a desirable attribute. With the amount of work either starting or due to start it is essential for us to continue recruiting the strongest talent whether that be from within Australia or areas that house the very best in the industry.'
The Gorgon Project is expected to create 10,000 jobs at peak construction and predicted to add $60 billion to Australia’s GDP. This project is of such significance that the benefits will be passed forward to future generations of Australians.
OPPORTUNITIES IN AUSTRALIA FROM THE LNG BOOM
In October Australia was the first G20 country to increase interest rates coming out of the global financial crisis. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision sends a clear message that Australia is showing a stronger than expected economic recovery. Expectations of further rate increases sent the Australian Dollar soaring in value. It’s widely expected to reach parity of one US Dollar to one AUS Dollar in early 2010. The historical average rate is around 1 AUS Dollar to US 70 cents. Working in Australia all of a sudden becomes a very attractive proposition for anyone currently working on a US Dollar based salary.
ACRWORLD have been tracking the project developments and have a dedicated LNG project recruitment team. Their Managing Director, John Green explains ‘Things are really starting to heat up now Following the Gorgon Project final approval. The early works packages have been a welcome relief to Australian companies who experienced a moderate slow down late in 2008 and into 2009. The skill sets required for these early works packages are cross transferable to the Mining industry so companies are managing to source most of their personnel locally. As the project develops the demand for specialist technical expertise in LNG process plant construction will grow. We will be working closely with our clients to source personnel with overseas LNG project experience. Qatar of course is the number one producer of LNG in the world and over the years many expats have benefited from working on the technically challenging projects there and we expect to be able to attract candidates with such experience to come and work in Australia’.
The attraction of working in Australia is not just limited to the exciting projects, it’s the lifestyle as well.
John Weir, a British H&S Manager who previously worked in Qatar on one of the world’s largest LNG developments recently moved to Australia to work on the PNG LNG project. John explained ‘The main reason for my move was for the professional and personal opportunities that Australia had to offer. The long term planned investment and growth within the Australian LNG industry means there is a shortage of skilled and experienced personnel to fill all of the positions which opens doors for overseas professionals offering long term employment prospects.’
John went on to add ‘For the family, Australia offers a fantastic work /rest lifestyle that has few equals. The working day starts early and finish late particularly on project start up however the weekend is for fun in the sun and enjoying all of the leisure activities that are literally on the doorstep. In both work and leisure Australia is a very welcoming and accommodating country and the people are very friendly and supportive of new arrivals. This was not just about a career move it was a life changing move and one for me that has been well worthwhile.’
Australia is a country of vast land size and a relatively sparse population. It takes over 5 hours to fly across the country from Sydney (4.5 million people) to Perth (1.5 million people). The population is rapidly expanding, Perth’s population is predicted to double by 2050. For Australian companies looking to hi re from overseas the best solution is to process a subclass 457 Business Visa. In February 2009 in the midst of the GFC the Department of Immigration updated their 457 policy. Recommendations were made to carefully consider the prevailing employment conditions. However, in September 2009 surprise figures were announced and the actual unemployment rate fell from 5.8% to 5.7%.
Leo Oostveen from Streamlined Migration explains ‘The Department of Immigration and Citizenship recognise there is a skill shortage in engineering and construction both for professionals and trades persons and have included such positions on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL).’
While the LNG boom is generating many employment opportunities other industries in Australia are also helping to reduce unemployment levels. Spending on infrastructure by the Rudd Government’s 35 billion dollar stimulus package (under the Infrastructure Australia scheme) is now positively impacting companies. Even though the economy is in recovery mode the government is committed to continue its infrastructure expenditure. Rail in particular is a major beneficiary. There are 17 rail projects in the stimulus. This will result in more money being pumped into rail projects in the next 12 months than has been spent in the last 12 years. One of the larger rail projects is the 4.3 billion dollar Regional Rail Network project in Victoria. Engineering contracts are due for award in coming months. Other significant infrastructure projects include the 1.5 billion dollar Hunter Expressway in New South Wales, a 40km long dual carriageway.
In February 2009 the Adelaide Aqua consortium, (McConnell Dowell Constructors, Abigroup Contractors, ACCIONA Agua and United Utilities Australia.) were awarded a $1.37 billion contract to design, build, operate and maintain the Adelaide desalination plant.
This project was quickly followed by the award in July of the Melbourne Desalination plant to AquaSure, an international consortium consisting of Degremont, Suez Environment, Thiess and Macquarie Capital Group. Aquasure will build this $3.5 billion project with an expected 1700 jobs being created.
The LNG boom is making the international headlines but behind the scenes Australia seems to be fairing very well across most industries.
For permanent residency and temporary business visa migration services contact Leo Oostveen at Streamlined Migration.
Tel: +61 2 9006 1050
ACRWORLD is an Australian recruitment company offering Executive Search and Contingency recruitment services. They have offices in Sydney & Dubai and have assisted many overseas candidates source roles in Australia.
Tel: +61 2 8079 0900