Bechtel’s $70 billion worth of LNG plants: what it takes

9 December 2013, Australian Mining – Vicky Validakis

What it takes to build $70 billion worth of LNG plants: Bechtel construction facts

As the LNG plants on Curtis Island continue to take shape in three projects worth billions of dollars in investments, Australian Mining did some digging to find out just what it takes to construct the facilities.

Bechtel is in charge of the engineering, procurement and construction of the massive plants for gas proponents Santos, BG Group and Origin Energy/ConocoPhillips, with the company saying they represent the biggest concentration of Bechtel projects anywhere in the world.

Construction of BG Group’s Queensland Curtis LNG kicked off in 2010, and it will be the first facility to produce gas, following completion in 2014.

The Australia Pacific LNG and the Santos-led GLNG both commenced construction in 2011 and are set to finish in 2015.

But before first gas is transported through massive pipelines from coal seam gas fields in Queensland’s mainland – work on the island continues and requires a mass amount of man-power and equipment to make it work.


Bechtel and its contractors employ more than 10 000 people across the three projects, with more than 4 500 of them coming from the Gladstone region.

The company employs 2 400 non-manual field workers, 5 000 crafts people and 3 000 sub-contractors.

Bechtel general manager Kevin Berg said the original forecast had shown a workforce peak of 8500 but that due to an accelerated schedule, the downturn in mining and the easing skills shortage in some areas, the figure will rise to 11 000.

“We currently have over 10 000 people working across the three projects and on the mainland,” he said.

“We are approaching our peak and will remain at peak through mid-next year.”

Berg said local residents were applying for jobs, with many joining the projects weekly.

“In fact, this week, we have more than 4700 local residents working on these projects,” he said in September.

Berg said although the project was transitioning from civil works to the structural and mechanical phases of construction, there were still a number of critical roles up for grabs including electrical and mechanical trades, special class welders, instrument technicians and pipe fitters.

In June, Berg said more than 28 000 people had registered interest for Bechtel trade roles, and professional vacancies had received up to 125 applications each.

With all these employees needing somewhere to eat, sleep and relax, the island boasts temporary workers accommodation facilities at each project with 6000 rooms in total.

Bechtel told Australian Mining that with all the mouths to feed, 327 000 meals are served at the camp each month.

This consists of 55 000 kg of meat consumed each month, 300 000 eggs and 90 000 kg of fruit and vegetables.

And to keep fit and healthy, workers visit the island’s gyms 15 000 times a month.

The island also has pools, tennis courts, BBQs and pay TV to ensure workers have a wide variety of activities to choose from.

Berg told Australian Mining it was important for workers to feel comfortable in their home away from home.

“We hope to make a distinction between the work site and the accommodation to make sure their down time is as relaxing as possible. To do that, the accommodation on each project includes a range of features that you’d expect to be able to access if you were living at home,” Berg said.

Each facility also employs active lifestyle coaches to ensure the workforce is engaged outside of work hours.

They run social activities, gym sessions, weekend getaways and even personal fitness plans.

Read more$70-billion-worth-of-lng-pl


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