Massive LNG project layoffs on Curtis Island

With the construction phase winding down for LNG projects on Curtis Island, key contractor Bechtel is laying off approximately 600 employees per month.

Gladstone Observer reported that camps have already begun the decommissioning phase, and that the company is looking at offloading equipment and machinery, including $9 million worth of vehicles.

More than 26,000 workers have been employed at the QCLNG, APLNG and GLNG projects since the start of construction in 2011.

It is expected construction will be complete in 12 months, and that Bechtel will have completely demobilised by December 2016.

Bechtel also has leases on 239 residential properties in Gladstone, which will be gradually released back on to the rental market.

Workers made redundant from the Curtis Island project are looking to other projects for work, including the Bechtel-run Wheatstone LNG project, and Chevron’s Gorgon Project.

Bechtel general manager Kevin Berg said he appreciated there was an atmosphere of uncertainty around the impact the layoffs will have on the Gladstone community, and compared it to completion of the nearby Boyne Smelter in the early 80s.

“There was certainly a high expectation of the impact that would have on the community,” Berg said.

“But we found that it didn't meet the community's expectations.

“Yes, it was difficult for some people at first, but generally everything just returned to normal.

“We're hoping for the same outcome here.”

Berg said that he expected workers to find employment in metals processing and mining industries.

"Historically when oil prices are low the metals and mines industry comes up, so I would hope we will see that happen again now," he said.

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