SMH Gladstone gas plant given the green light
January 14, 2011
THE Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, had some rare good news with the approval of a $16 billion liquid gas plant for flood-stricken northern
But the Gladstone Liquid Natural Gas project will struggle to secure labour as the floods put more pressure on an already undersupplied jobs
The project was greeted with enthusiasm by the federal Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, when it passed final approval by its owners yesterday.
It is a joint venture between Santos, which owns 30 per cent, and three of the world's biggest liquid gas companies, Petronas, Total and Kogas. It is
expected to make Australia the second biggest exporter of liquid gas by 2015-16.
''This is a huge win for Australia,'' Mr Ferguson said. ''It is also a significant statement … following the turmoil of last year with respect
to changes in potential tax regimes, that Australia is open for business.''
Mr Ferguson admitted that finding workers for the plant - which will require 1500 staff in the first half of this year and 5000 jobs during
construction, eventually resulting in 1000 permanent jobs - would not be easy.
''We have a challenge at the moment in terms of potential shortages of labour in Australia and I suppose potential impacts on wages,'' he said in
Canberra. ''We are aware of those matters and I suppose the difficulties of Queensland at the moment only add to those challenges.''
He ruled out a change to the skilled migration intake, instead saying existing programs such as 457 visas would meet Australia's skilled migration
The project will develop coal seam gas fields in central Queensland over three decades and a 420-kilometre pipeline linking the fields to a processing
plant north of Gladstone.
''Proceeding now with projects like this will be a tremendous boost to the Queensland economy as we recover from the devastating impact of the
floods,'' Ms Bligh said.
The approval proved a boon for the main project partner, Australian oil and gas exploration company Santos. Its shares rose 2½ per cent following the
The project is not without its detractors. Environmentalists and farmers have expressed concern that the piping and plant, which are perched near the
mouth of the Calliope River, may contaminate groundwater.
It is the third such project which has been approved by the Bligh government.