Gladstone has become the LNG training and production hub.
Gladstone has become the LNG training and production hub. Brenda Strong GLAPLAN

Conoco Phillips leading way in LNG training

WHILE Gladstone remains the Queensland LNG hub, new starters in the industry have until recently had to travel across the country, if not the world, to complete operational process training.

A new partnership between Conoco Phillips (the energy company driving the APLNG project), the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Petroskills is now offering operation technician training in Gladstone, in the heart of the LNG industry.

Conoco Phillips' Australia east president Warwick King said the training program was essential for training LNG workers at APLNG.

"We have a lack of LNG skilled operators but plenty of skilled labour in Gladstone, so we wanted to take them and convert them into skilled LNG operators," he said.

"Hopefully long term we'll be left with a facility that will train LNG operators that will allow us to supply people for years and years to come, not just for us, although this first phase is for APLNG.

"The real purpose is to help them become an operator, to help them learn the key aspects of the major bits of equipment in the industry."

Trainees will be fully qualified after five months of theory and hands-on training.

Conoco Phillips isn't the only player in the LNG industry making an impression on the training scene, with international construction firm Bechtel winning the 2013 Employer of the Year award at the Queensland Training Awards earlier this month.

The award recognised Bechtel's employee training and community development programs at the three LNG projects the company is constructing on Curtis Island.

Bechtel's LNG operations manager for Australia, Alasdair Cathcart, said the award was a testament to the efforts of both the teachers and trainees.

"Each month more than 350 people working on the projects take part in some form of accredited training that better prepares them for the job at hand and for the future."

Since the start of construction on the three Curtis Island projects, Bechtel has provided training to nearly 12,000 employees, with more than 11,000 attending accredited training programs.

Bechtel has also partnered with the Australian government's National Apprenticeship Program to employ 400 adult apprentices in the construction phase of the Curtis Island projects.