22/08/2006 - 22:00

JV targets large-scale contracts

22/08/2006 - 22:00

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Industrial services company United Group has formed a joint venture with engineering and fabrication firm Ausclad Group to bid for work on major projects, starting with the planned Gorgon gas project.

JV targets large-scale contracts

Industrial services company United Group has formed a joint venture with engineering and fabrication firm Ausclad Group to bid for work on major projects, starting with the planned Gorgon gas project.

Local firms Park Engineers and Fremantle Steel are associates of the unincorporated joint venture, which is seeking to convince project developers that Western Australian industry has the capability to deliver major construction contracts.

United has also purchased Steelplan, one of the two big steel detailing firms in Perth, as part of its strategy.

United Group’s resources chief executive Jon Birman said the aim was to combine fabrication services, engineering skills and management systems to that it could offer a “single point solution.”

Ausclad managing director Stuart Kenny said the joint venture would have the financial, managerial and manufacturing capacity to undertake large module construction that would be beyond the capacity of individual members.

“It’s not there for any job, but by agreement it’s targeted jobs and the target is the Gorgon project,” Mr Kenny said.

He added that discussions were also under way to see if WA industry could win some of the fabrication contracts for the Australian navy’s new destroyers.

The establishment of the joint venture follows a period where major engineering and fabrication contracts, most notably for the North West Shelf Venture’s $2 billion Train 5 expansion, have been awarded to offshore suppliers.

United mothballed its own fabrication workshops at Kwinana two years ago, but Mr Birman said they had been operating successfully with up to 400 staff since reopening in 2005.

He said the joint venture initiative had been supported by Gorgon, which is half-owned and operated by Chevron.

“This initiative has been given a significant boost by the enthusiasm of the Gorgon team, it’s been very encouraging,” he said.

The scale of the Gorgon project, estimated to cost in excess of $15 billion, means that contracts are likely to be awarded to both Australian and overseas suppliers.

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