People from all over Australia, from residents in Sydney to electricians in Perth, were glad to hear of the new project located in Darwin, aimed in providing natural gas for the country to utilize, seeing it as a promising venture.
Recent news however, has not been as promising.
Over 800 workers from the project are being stood down from the $36 B Ichthys gas venture, led by Inpex, in Darwin, Australia. JKC Australia LNG, head contractor for the project has confirmed: 640 direct employees were laid off from the natural gas venture, followed by an additional 200 subcontractors soon after.
Laing O’Rourke, the man in charge of it all, possesses the contract and authorization, as the representative of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, needed for the construction of cryogenic tanks on the site. This contract is one of the largest involved with the Ichthys project, which aims to acquire the natural gas located in the Western Australia coasts, and deliver it across 900km of underwater piping to a processing plant located in Darwin Harbour.
The achievement of this aim, however, has been hampered by recent contractual disputes involving Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Laing O’Rourke, was caught in the hotseat, forced to handle the aftermath of the issue, which led to it withdrawing from the project. As a result, over 800 employees on the project were laid off, sent back to their homes after a surprise announcement made by the construction company.
Josh Burling, spokesperson for the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union stated that the layoffs were sudden and unexpected, and that he was simply informed of them via a phone call on the morning of March 15.
According to Mr. Burling, employees were suddenly being shipped off-site on buses and promptly sent home without work. The employees were undoubtedly shocked, with some stating that their work suddenly disappeared overnight. Some, however, state that there have been murmurs leading up to the mass layoff.
Laing O’Rourke has made their statement, saying that the problem lies with KHI, not with them, stating that the Japanese company had failed to pay for work on the project for some time now, and that the company had attempted to rectify the issues plaguing the site. Regardless, Laing O’Rourke has properly compensated all employees for any work during the tumultuous timeframe.
Electricians in Perth and people all over Australia remain hopeful for the project.