Pipeline group hiring
THE Lower Wonga-based owner of pipeline construction company East Coast Pipeline was in the middle of hiring another 65 staff this week after winning a $150 million contract to deliver coal-seam gas.
Barry Waldron doesn't get to spend much time these days at his 160-acre (64ha) cattle property on Gympie-Woolooga Rd, particularly since securing the lucrative contract to install polyethylene pipe for 145 wells at Spring Gully, north-east of Roma.
The project was part of the first phase of construction of the Australia Pacific LNG Project.
"It's the biggest contract we've signed," Mr Waldron said yesterday.
Australia-Pacific LNG is overseeing construction of a 530km pipeline to take gas from Queensland's coalfields to Gladstone, where it will be converted to liquefied natural gas and then exported.
The contract was signed in May and while preliminary work had begun, Mr Waldron expects to add at least another 60 people to his 120-strong staff before work fires-up in earnest.
About 10 Gympie employees already work for East Coast Pipeline - some have worked for Mr Waldron for many years.
APLNG - which has the the backing of Australia's Origin Energy, US-based ConocoPhillips and China's Sinopec - is keen to promote its use of local contractors.
This comes amid a storm of controversy about big projects in Australia potentially using foreign materials or workers.
So far, APLNG says $2.3 billion has been spent with local companies, representing about 80% in local content.
It did not break down specific spending plans locally for the $23 billion project this week, but said a "significant proportion" of expenditure would be in Australian dollars, with a majority of that spent locally.
Mr Waldron said he too supported local businesses and employed locally where he could.
The East Coast Pipeline contract involves preparing, laying, welding and restoring the environment for almost 600km of pipe.
The new staff will be a mix of locals and fly-in-fly-out employees, some from interstate.
Mr Waldron said the project involved putting pipes about 900mm underground.
Only markers should be visible.
East Coast Pipeline started in 1972, and Mr Waldron joined the company in 1976.
He started with steel welding work and bought the first of his four 40-acre blocks at Lower Wonga in 1994.
Nowadays he spends most nights at his Redcliffe residence which is closer to his Maroochydore and new Redcliffe construction headquarters, and to Brisbane.
CSG has caused controversy in some communities, alienating some farmers.