More energy, cleaner fuel for Australia and its LNG export markets
In quick succession, Queensland Curtis LNG (a joint venture of QGC – now a Shell-owned business, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Tokyo Gas), Australia Pacific LNG (a joint venture of ConocoPhillips, Origin and Sinopec), and Santos GLNG (a joint venture of Santos, Petronas, Total, and Kogas) each hired Bechtel to design and build a liquefied natural gas complex on Curtis Island, off the shore of Queensland, just north of the city of Gladstone.
These three simultaneous construction programs are part of the largest concentration of private-capital investment in Australia’s history.
Annual world demand for LNG stands at about a quarter billion metric tons. Forecasts point to an increase of 60 percent or more by 2020 and a doubling of consumption by 2030—much of it in Asia. The three plants will produce LNG for use by Australians and for customers in China, Korea, Japan, and Malaysia. Together, the plants will account for roughly 8 percent of global LNG production.
Annual LNG production capacity
- APLNG: 9 million metric tons
- GLNG: 7 million metric tons
- QCLNG: 8.5 million tons
LNG ships receiving cargo at all three plants.
Because of overlapping schedules, close proximity, and good cooperation, each project and all three customers have benefited from economies of scale and efficiency orchestrated by Bechtel.
For the sake of quality, speed, and cost control, Bechtel engineers in Houston, New Delhi, and Shanghai geared their designs for the three Curtis Island plants to modular construction. At Bechtel facilities in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand, colleagues have been building more than 260 modules—-many of which weighed more than 5,000 tons.
The three projects together require enough:
- concrete to construct seven Empire State Buildings
- structural steel to build 13 Eiffel Towers
- electrical cable to run the length of the Grand Canyon 11 times
See us raise the enormous tank roof with just air.
Each of the two storage tanks at the Curtis Island LNG facilities has a capacity equal to 56 Olympic-size swimming pools. This video shows the surprising way that we put a roof on such a tank.
Developing the workforce
Extraordinary employee training and community development programs earned Bechtel the 2013 Employer of the Year Award from the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment. Two examples of achievements lauded by the department:
At its peak, the project employed 30,000 people across seven countries on four continents, with 14,500 of them on Curtis Island alone. Bechtel paid more than $1.5 billion in local wages. The industry is expected to create more than 18,000 jobs in Queensland.
- 11,000 Bechtel employees in accredited training programs
- 400 adult apprentices, the largest single hiring of apprentices in the nation’s history
Charting a new course for marine safety
Safely transporting thousands of tons of construction materials and equipment, plus more than 11,000 employees, through a small Australian city’s busy harbor required creative thinking by our colleagues working on the country’s largest concentration of natural gas projects. Working with Maritime Safety Queensland and Gladstone Ports Corporation, we established a single standard of safety along with a new training program for all marine operators in the area. Although the Gladstone port experienced an upsurge in ship movement, from around 3,500 per year to 35,000 per month at the height of the projects’ construction, there have been no LNG construction- related harbor incidents, and the ratio of nautical miles to incidents has dropped by a factor of three.
The journey to first cargo
"It's been a tough job, it's been a very challenging job, but to see what we have achieved here is incredible and very rewarding." Darren Mort, senior project manager
As with all projects, strong relationships with the community and regulatory authorities are critical.Bechtel’s ties with the Gladstone region span some 30 years─an enduring legacy we want to continue.
For the 35,000 residents of Gladstone, Australia, the effect of creating three massive LNG plants on Curtis Island was transformative to their local economy. The common practice of dialogue, grievance procedures, and informed consultation was important but insufficient, given the unprecedented size, scale, and complexity of the projects.
To address the community needs, we created a Centralized Services Organization (CSO). Among its efforts, the CSO unifies stakeholder engagement for all three projects into one standard process and set of performance indicators for more efficiency and greater consistency. It also serves as the primary interface with key external stakeholders to streamline communication and eliminate confusion and misunderstanding.
Some of the most effective CSO programs include the ongoing guided cruise tours of the projects for the residents of Gladstone, along with community encounters that allow residents to experience the work, camp food, and accommodations.
The CSO formed a standing committee in Gladstone consisting of local police, industry, customers, community leaders, and small businesses to address concerns regarding health and safety issues and the influx of workers to the area. It also launched and maintained a social media presence to keep communities, employees, and their families connected and engaged day to day.
Finally, the CSO instituted a workforce integration investment plan to support local charities and organizations. Workers are empowered to engage communities, assess priority issues to address, and use a participatory process to allocate technical and financial resources where needed.