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Job summit finds common ground

PARTICIPANTS in the State Government’s oil and gas job summit last week emerged from the meeting with a remarkable degree of goodwill and unanimity.

Government, union and industry leaders said they were very pleased with the outcome of the summit.

The only specific initiative of the summit was an agreement to establish a co-ordinating council, to be chaired by State Development Minister Clive Brown.

The council will review a range of strategic issues facing the oil and gas industry with a view to maximising local business and employment opportunities.

The summit brought together a who’s who of the Western Australian oil and gas industry, including senior representatives from ChevronTexaco, Woodside, BHP Billiton Petroleum, Apache Energy, Arc Energy and Santos, along with senior figures in the engineering industry and union movement.

After the summit Mr Brown said there was a real sense of commitment to maximising opportunities in WA.

“I was very pleased to see that right around the room there was a commitment to do it,” he said.

“That was the most important thing.

“It came back to one point, commitment.

“Not legislation or the dead hand of government, but a desire to exhaust every opportunity.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union State secretary Jock Ferguson said he approached the summit with some trepidation but was “very happy with the outcome”.

The summit was triggered by concern over the low level of local content on some offshore oil and gas projects, particularly Woodside’s $1.5 billion Enfield project.

Mr Ferguson said he wasn’t happy with some of Woodside’s procurement decisions but would not push for a review of those decisions.

“That’s in the past,” he said.

“We have to learn from experience and look to the future.”

Woodside chief operating officer Keith Spence highlighted the level of local content on the company’s train four and second trunkline projects. He said local content on Enfield was potentially as high as 38 per cent.

Mr Spence emphasised that sustained expansion of the industry relied on it being globally competitive.

ChevronTexaco Australia managing director Jay Johnson said competitiveness was driven by more than just price. Quality, reliability, and the tax and regulatory environment were also important.

Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association executive director Barry Jones said the commitment to local content needed to extend right down the system.

 

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