WHILE the “once in a generation” Australian oil and gas construction boom has passed its peak, the LNG sector still provides a major opportunity for Australian companies, according to a leading engineering specialist.

Francis Norman, the immediate past president of Engineers Australia’s WA division and a keynote speaker at the Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition & Conference (AOG) 2016, says while many major LNG projects are now transitioning from a construction to an operational phase, there are many new opportunities for Australian skills to be at the forefront.

Mr Norman, who will be presenting in the “service & supply opportunities in LNG projects and operations” stream at AOG, said that the game-changing FLNG developments like Prelude also offered many opportunities.

“There will be a great need for operations and maintenance personnel at both the engineering and trades levels to plan and undertake shut down work, both onsite and in design and supply offices as each of the new facilities come on line,” Mr Norman said.

“Opportunities for individuals will span from operations and maintenance roles, as well as technical and logistics support through sub-contracting businesses and organisations.”

“Individuals need to have the appropriate skills required for whichever role they are seeking and may also need to be prepared to be flexible with work rosters, as many of these projects will require irregular hours,” he said.

Mr Norman, who was part of the team that wrote the Engineers Australia report “Our FLNG Future Engineering Opportunities and Challenges” says Australia has a capability to be a world leader in providing support to the burgeoning FLNG sector.

However, Mr Norman said that Australia should not take this opportunity for granted.

“Our report found the industry needs to build a strong, collaborative culture between organisations, to identify the unique strengths held here in Australia, and to identify the global gaps in knowledge, skills and experience so we can focus on filling them.”

“This will need a robust relationship between our academic institutions, operators and the broader support industry,” he said.

“With the expansion boom now over, future opportunities in the resources sector are almost all in the areas of operations support and maintenance.”

“It is critically important that Australia’s engineers recognise this change in the landscape and reconfigure their skill sets to best address this,” Mr Norman added.

To hear more about Australia’s LNG opportunities, Mr Norman and a range of industry specialists will be presenting at the “service & supply opportunities in LNG projects and operations” stream, on Thursday, 25 February from 11:30am-12:00pm at the AOG conference.