26 November 2009

Gas producer lobbies for overseas workers to combat Australia’s skills shortage

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Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, Woodside, said it wants to work with the Federal Government to ease restrictions on overseas skilled workers to combat Australia’s skills shortage.

Woodside Chief Executive Officer Don Voelte said the company would love to “skill up Australia” while that did not necessarily have to mean permanent Australian Visa or immigration for workers.

The company is hoping to attract and retain skilled workers with a more flexible Australian immigration system.

“We are looking out for special skill sets that are limited in supply,” he said. 

Woodside is an operator of the Pluto liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia, which is among more than a dozen proposed LNG projects in Australia targeting skilled workers and tradespeople  like instrument technicians, boilermakers, pipe fitters, welders and engineers.

Woodside is an experienced company within the industry having developed the North West Shelf project, Australia’s largest LNG venture that has been exporting the fuel for 20 years. LNG is gas chilled to liquid form for transportation by ship to destinations not linked by pipeline.

Pluto is more than 80 per cent finished and remains on schedule to start shipping LNG in 2011. 

On 16 November, a task force organised by the Australian government to secure 70,000 skilled workers during the next 10 years met for the first time.

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