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Australian gas industry facing process operator shortfall

11 September 2012

Speaking at the inaugural Australia Gas Technology event in Perth on July 25, Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) board member Keith Spence said Australia was facing a critical shortage of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal stream gas (CSG) process operators. The country will have to increase the number from 200 currently to 1,500 by 2017/18 to keep pace with planned LNG and CSG developments.

Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) board member Keith Spence
Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) board member Keith Spence

He said that the LNG/CSG industry would be competing with the mining and infrastructure sectors for the same process operators, and advised companies to collaborate to train new staff in a timely manner, rather than poaching existing operators from each other.

"There will be the problem of safety and quality risks associated with rapid workforce expansion," Spence added.

He concluded with the suggestion that Australia's new LNG/CSG projects could also look towards the petroleum refinery sector to fill their hiring needs. "The future of several petroleum refineries appear very uncertain at present, so perhaps the new LNG/CSG projects in Australia should consider petroleum refinery personnel, whose skill sets are very suited for LNG plant operations."


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