$45bn coal seam gas projects draw workers from around the world  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

The Australian has an article on the windfall heading Bechtel’s way as construction looms for 3 coal seam gas LNG projects in Queensland - $45bn gas plan draws workers of the world.

WORKERS from as far away as Ireland will be part of the massive fly-in, fly-out workforce needed to build the $45 billion development turning coal-seam gas into liquified natural gas on Curtis Island off Gladstone, central Queensland.
About 800 people are now working on the mangrove-fringed island on the north side of Gladstone Harbour, but this is expected to rise to at least 6000, housed in specially constructed camps, within two years. There will also be up to 2000 contractors, who will not live on site but will be ferried across from Gladstone every day to help build the three liquid natural gas plants, expected to be operating by 2015.

While protests against coal-seam gas continue in areas such as the Darling Downs, where 40,000 coal-seam wells will be constructed, the export industry is proceeding rapidly. The pipeline that carries the coal-seam gas from the Darling Downs to Gladstone is under construction, and work on the plants that will convert the gas into 38 million tonnes of liquid to be exported to Asia each year is well under way.

Three LNG plants are being built -- by the British-owned BG Group, Santos and Origin -- but all three $15bn plants are being built by US construction giant Bechtel, which owns the intellectual property rights to the technology. Bechtel, one of the world's biggest contractors with a global workforce of 55,000, is already a big employer in Gladstone, with about 1500 people working at the expansion of Rio Tinto's alumina refinery at Yarwun. …

The sheer scale of the three projects is having a debilitating effect on the central Queensland region, already suffering a skills shortage because of the mining boom. While wages for unskilled workers in mining average between $80,000 and $120,000 a year, with up to $150,000 for more skilled workers, labour hire operators estimate the short-term nature and urgency of the jobs on Curtis Island mean the pay on offer is 15-20 per cent higher than in mining industries. ... A mine worker paid $150,000 a year might be able to get $180,000 as the Curtis Island workforce increases.

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