AOG 2016 a critical forum for the LNG sector

With the Australian LNG industry entering one of its most turbulent periods a major focus on the sector at the Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition & Conference (AOG) 2016 conference is very timely.

With the nation transitioning from a once-in-a-generation construction phase to a focus on operations, there are numerous warnings that Australia may not be ready and may have major issues finding enough skilled workers to match the potential opportunities.

Two keynote speakers at AOG 2016, Bernadette Cullinane from Accenture, and the immediate past president for Engineers Australia, Francis Norman, have raised their concerns over the past 12 months about Australia’s capability to meet this dramatic change.

And they have been joined recently by a leading global recruitment firm which has forecast a potential critical shortage of skilled LNG process operators over the next two to three years.

Bernadette Cullinane, Accenture’s Asia Pacific Energy Lead and a keynote presenter at a special AOG 2016 session looking at service and supply opportunities in LNG projects and operations, says there are aspects of the local LNG industry that are not sufficiently ready to support world-leading oil and gas production, including the industrial relations and regulatory frameworks.

“Based on Accenture’s research, the overall consensus is that the industry is somewhat prepared for the transition to operations in terms of the capability, capacity and competitiveness of the industry.

“However, there are aspects of the industry that are not sufficiently ready to support world-leading oil and gas production, including the industrial relations and regulatory frameworks,” Ms Cullinane said.

“The majority of operators and services companies interviewed for Accenture’s research were concerned about ambiguous, changing and/or inconsistent regulatory requirements, and the time and money spent complying or dealing with government regulation, licensing processes and bureaucracy.”

Ms Cullinane said Australia is uniquely placed to take advantage of its world-class natural gas resources – provided it ensures that the right skills are developed and maintained.

“It is imperative that Australia seize the opportunity to be a leader in LNG operations. Australia will become the world’s largest LNG producing nation by 2018 and will have the largest market share in LNG production skills in the world, including in many new technology areas such as floating LNG and coal seam gas to LNG operations,” Ms Cullinane added.

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