Labour pains for LNG plans

By KelvinR

Australia has declared that it wants to be the second biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas in the world by 2015.

And five years on from that, it wants to have knocked Qatar off the top spot.

This year alone, funding has been secured for four LNG projects due to be online by 2016.

So far then, so good. But who’s going to operate them? Australia has a tight labour supply already for oil and gas projects, and LNG requires a skilled workforce.

It’s a problem not dissimilar to that of the UK and its equally ambitious offshore wind plans. It’s all very well wanting to build wind farms in waters from Kent all the way over the top of the British Isles and round to the Irish Sea, but who is going to be making them, and once made, how are they going to get to their final destination? The answer is they won’t without an overhaul of the UK’s manufacturing and ports industries. And with targets set for 2020, the clock is ticking very loudly.

Last week it was announced that historic shipbuilder Cammell Laird in Merseyside is to be the base for assembling, loading and shipping the 160 turbines needed for the Gwynt y Môr wind farm off North Wales.

Great news for Cammell Laird and the UK… but there’s not too many other once-great shipbuilders with space up for grabs.