25,000 CSG job losses in Surat Basin

MORE than 25,000 jobs are set to disappear from the Surat Basin as the coal seam gas (CSG) industry transitions from the construction to production phase.

According to the GasFields Commission Queensland, the workforce will peak at 40,000 before stabilising at 12,000 to 14,000 in the next 18 months, as the industry transitions from a construction to production phase.

A Gasfields Community Leaders Council meeting was held in Toowoomba last week, where discussions focused on the workforce numbers and managing the transition.

Chinchilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rob Hart said the adjustment in certain areas had been challenging for the community.

Mr Hart, who is also the Origin regional manager, said the chief issue for most people was they don’t know what the future holds.

“The current challenge now is going from a construction workforce into an operations workforce,” he said.

“Today has been revelatory for us in that each of the chief executives has actually committed to coming to Chinchilla and providing more feedback about what workforce numbers are going to be and how business is going to change from construction to operation.”

Mr Hart said the meeting had a long-term, positive focus but there were local challenges such as housing that needed to be managed.

Federal minister for industry and member for Groom Ian Macfarlane said the CSG industry was incredibly important internationally.

Mr Macfarlane briefly attended the Toowoomba meeting and described CSG as a major economic driver for the region.

“I sit right in the middle and support both sides,” he said.

“Agriculture has had to make compromises but the coal seam gas industry has also made compromises.”

Santos Queensland vice president Trevor Brown said they had completed construction on upstream facilities and all the wells were now connected to central processing hubs. The hubs were in a commissioning stage, set to be completed by the end of 2015.

Mr Brown said most of their construction workforce had now been demobilised.

He said they anticipated a spend of $1 billion per year for the five years following 2015 and $500 million each year after that.

QGC managing director Mitch Ingram said most of their upstream phase one infrastructure had now been completed.

He said they would drill roughly 300 wells each year for the foreseeable future and were looking at how to continue using local companies, long term.

“We are moving from a project environment into a steady state of operation,” he said.

On Tuesday, QGC launched a new program in Chinchilla to deliver long-term benefits back into regional communities.

Not-for-profit organisations in the Western Downs and Gladstone regions will be able to apply for grants of between $10,001 and $50,000 under the QGC Communities Fund.

Mr Ingram said the company remained committed to supporting host communities as it transitions to operations.

Australia Pacific LNG chief financial officer Mark McCabe said they were looking at how to locally procure and locate their workforce.

Mr McCabe said it was still early days as the APLNG project would be in the construction phase throughout 2015 before moving to the operations phase in 2016.

Read more http://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/news/agriculture/general/news/managing-csg-job-losses-in-surat-basin/2717932.aspx?storypage=0


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