A memo distributed on Sunday to staff working on Chevron’s $US52 billion Gorgon natural gas project banning sitting during shifts has today come under fire.
The memo titled “Efficient production of work crews” aimed to increase productivity levels on site after last week Chevron announced the project is $9 billion over budget.
Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorton said the Gorgon memo was most likely to have been distributed by a “mid-level person” who was probably sitting when they typed it, the AFR reported.
“I would be amazed if there’s documents of any serious nature going around saying you can’t sit down,” Shorten said.
“Presumably the person who typed up that communications document was sitting down when they said it. I’m sure that this must be put out by some mid-level person with probably more time on their hands than productivity goals that they’ve got to set.”
Chevron blamed increased costs on poor productivity levels at the Barrow Island site.
However Construction, Plumbing and Electrical Union state secretary Les McLaughlin said the company’s attempts to blame cost blowouts on worker productivity were “rubbish”.
Instead McLaughlin cited the blowout was due to poor management, logistics and a strong Aussie dollar.
“[From what I’ve heard] these [employee issues] are minor things. They should be looking at their processes because the processes are what’s at fault,” he said.
“They’re managing the entire project incorrectly.”
Woodside Petroleum chief Peter Coleman said companies in Australia’s energy sector were still determining best practice when delivering large scale LNG projects like Gorgon.
“It takes management skills, supervisory skills and planning skills that are a step above what we had before,” he said.
Coleman said the focus should be on curbing large internal costs, not the individual workers on site when delivering projects like Gorgon.
“It’s easy to go down and focus on the guy standing around in the hole waiting for something to be delivered, [but] we’ve looked at some of our projects, and the shocking part of it is that more than 30 per cent of our costs is white collar. It’s this inefficient regulatory process, internal processes…which has gone unabated and unchallenged.”