Employees in Australia’s oil and gas sector are the highest paid in the world, earning 25 per cent more than workers with the same job in the U.S
According to a survey by recruitment firm Hays, Australian’s workers earn an average of $US163,600 ($159,259) a year to work on natural gas projects.
With 12 multi-billion LNG projects either under construction on Australia’s coastline or in the planning stages, Australia is on-track to overtake Qatar as the world’s biggest exporter of LNG by the end of the decade, The Australian reported.
However, with a small population, Australia lacks the labour pool required for major projects and large salaries are used to entice workers to remote areas of the country.
The survey quizzed 25,000 people working across 53 countries and highlights the cost pressures facing companies like Chevron who are investing billions into an LNG project off the West Australian coast.
Last year the company announced a cost blowout of $9 billion was due partly to high labour costs.
The company said a high Australian dollar meant local equipment, services and labour has been harder to source.
Chevron’s Gorgon Project is one of Australia’s single biggest developments with an estimated resource base of more than 40 trillion cubic feet of gas and a nominal development life of around 60 years.
But the first LNG from the project has now been pushed back from the original date of 2014 to 2105 as development costs rise to $52bn.
Escalating costs in the resource sector has been a hot topic of late as many are concerned Australia is becoming increasingly uncompetitive amid rising costs.
Last year, Minerals Council of Australia chief, Mitchell Hooke warned that Australia’s cash costs were 30 per cent more than the global average, warning this could impact on future projects.