Powering Mega Projects with Human Energy
By Roy Krzywosinski
Chevron Australia Pty Ltd
Skills West Expo
Perth, Western Australia, September 3, 2010
Minister for Energy, Training and Workforce Development, the Honourable Peter Collier; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
First up, I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which this event is taking place and pay my respects to their elders, past and present.
Thank you very much for allowing me to speak here today, for what is a very important and timely event for Western Australia.
When you boil it down, it’s an event about our most important asset…our people. It’s about their careers; their way of life; and ultimately, their economic wellbeing….and it’s about how we manage people.
At Chevron, we like to call it Human Energy.
And Chevron is pleased to be taking part in the Skills Expo because our mega gas projects, Gorgon and Wheatstone, are going to play a critical role in Western Australia’s job growth future.
These projects will create thousands of jobs and inject valuable investment into the WA and Australian economies.
But, before I turn to the future, please allow me to briefly recap how Chevron got to this point….I can say that we are no ‘Johnny come lately’.
Chevron has been present in Australia for almost 60 years… and we consider ourselves a pioneer in this country’s oil and gas industry. We were involved in Australia’s first flowing oil discovery in 1953… and discovered the Barrow Island Field in 1964 – the largest onshore oil field in Australia.
We are a foundation participant in the North West Shelf Joint Venture and the Browse LNG development…and have forged key research and development partnerships through local universities and institutions - such as the Western Australian Energy Research Alliance.
So, Chevron Australia’s current rapid growth is not a bolt from the blue. It’s the result of decades of commitment, investment and partnership.
This rapid growth, is of course, largely being driven by our $43 billion Gorgon natural gas Project…which began construction last year;…and the Wheatstone natural gas Project, at Ashburton North near Onslow, which we expect to sanction in the second half of next year.
So allow me to put that growth into some statistical context with respect to Chevron jobs.
In a nutshell, Chevron Australia is experiencing very significant employment growth.
In 2007, Chevron directly employed 580 staff in Perth.
The following year, we more than doubled to 1,200 staff.
The current Chevron workforce stands at nearly 2,000 and it is forecast to approach 2,500 by the end of this year. These jobs incorporate a wide cross-section of categories from engineers, to office administration workers, to planners, to accountants to geologists to environmental scientists.
So within in the space of four years, our workforce in Australia has increased by more 300 percent.
Chevron also now employs 120 university graduates across a range of oil and gas related fields through our Horizons graduate development program. These are young people who are getting valuable experience on the front-line and being given significant responsibility as they grow into their full potential.
These young people are the leaders and experts of tomorrow - who we are investing in today.
And we are in the process of recruiting university students for this year’s vacation recruitment program – which will provide about 20 University students with a hands-on opportunity to participate in real oil and gas work during their summer break.
Investing in our people is also about investing in our future.
Because of this rapid workforce expansion, we want to make sure our employees are receiving the appropriate professional development and learning skills. In other words, we want our new workers to reach their full potential, as soon as possible.
To support this objective, we provide comprehensive courses and training programs for our employees. In fact, this year alone, our workforce will have access to more than 1,000 internal training courses across all our professional departments.
And, I am proud to say that our commitment to train and invest in our workforce was recognized at the recent WA Department of Training and Workforce Development’s Training Awards…when Chevron Australia was awarded 2010 WA Employer of the Year.
We are very humbled by this recognition and achievement. Chevron is taking a long term, integrated view of talent development. That is, our talent development and training is critical to Chevron’s long term success...and it is integral to our business - not an add on.
We also have an inclusive and supportive approach to ensuring diversity in the workplace.
I should point out that these numbers do not include contractor employees who are working on our projects – which number into the thousands.
If you start taking contractors into account, then the increase in jobs is phenomenal.
Let’s look specifically at the Gorgon Project and the job interest it is creating in the broader context, not just those people who are being employed directly by Chevron.
The Final Investment Decision for Gorgon was made almost one year ago…on September 14 of last year…and construction began on Barrow Island in December.
I am pleased to report that we are off to a flying start on Gorgon. Work is progressing well and Gorgon is on schedule to produce first gas in 2014.
Early independent economic modeling has forecast that Gorgon will create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs during peak construction. If you combine this with the predictions for Wheatstone, both these projects are forecast to generate more than 16,000 direct and indirect jobs at peak construction.
To provide you with an idea of the employment activity that is already taking place with Gorgon…I’d like to share with you the following data.
Firstly, up until last month, almost 4,400 workers had undergone the Barrow Island induction course. This course is compulsory if you’ve got any involvement in Gorgon construction activity on Barrow Island.
So the employment traffic in the field and at the work fronts is starting to build - and the number of people working on location on the Gorgon Project is now 1,300.
We’ve got crane operators, concrete workers, labourers, marine based workers, pipe fitters, carpenters – just about every trade you can think of.
And there’s significantly more to come.
Now, I’d like to turn briefly to where these people, who have undergone the two day Barrow Island induction course, have actually come from. As you can see, the vast majority have come from Western Australia. But there is a strong and steady flow coming from other States.
And what does the age group of the Gorgon workers look like…
What stands out with respect to the age demographic of employees and contractors - who have undergone the Barrow Island induction course, is that it is evenly spread across age groups.
It reveals that 25 percent are aged 30 and under.
The bulk – about half - is aged between 30 and 50; and more than 20 percent are aged 50 and over.
So this shows there is a fair spread of ages travelling to Barrow and working on Gorgon.
In relation to indigenous employment, Chevron believes engaging indigenous communities in our areas of operation is fundamental to our broader business success.
We do this in a number of ways and it’s much more than direct employment opportunities.
For instance in Onslow, we actively support school and early years development programs that are designed to help strengthen the local community and help inspire those who want to reach their potential – which of course includes getting a job.
While this type of investment focuses on long-term outcomes, we are also committed to providing job opportunities on both the Gorgon and Wheatstone projects.
For this reason, the Gorgon Project requires contractors to produce and submit regular reports outlining their actions and achievements in indigenous employment and business participation.
There is still a lot of work to be done in this area but there are some early success stories already emerging.
For example, Gorgon site development contractor, Ertech, is running indigenous students through it Construction Academy in Perth. Upon successful completion of their training, these students are invited to apply for permanent roles with Ertech and other companies.
Another contractor, Offshore Marine Services Alliance, has so far employed within its operation seven indigenous crew, six indigenous stevedores and three office staff including the first indigenous manager on the Gorgon project within its operations.
We would like to thank these contractors, and others, for the leadership they are showing in this area and encourage more to follow suit.
In total, we’ve now got about 60 indigenous staff and contractors employed doing Gorgon related work.
But we don’t plan to stop there.
To help us achieve ongoing success, we recently established a team within Chevron dedicated to indigenous employment. We have appointed a Senior Indigenous Employment Advisor - based in Karratha – and an Indigenous Employment Consultant.
We believe these initiatives are helping to form the building blocks for greater indigenous participation in the resources sector.
As you can imagine, we will have a significant demand for qualified workers across a variety of skill sets.
So let’s do some crystal ball gazing.
What I’m about to show you is our latest estimates on the category of workers that will be required for the Gorgon Project and the approximate numbers of workers required.
These are workers required over the life of the construction of Gorgon – from start to finish - not just at peak construction. I’ll also make the point that these are workers that will be directly employed by Gorgon contractors.
When you see these figures, you start get an idea of the scale of the project and what’s required.
Throughout the entire construction phase of Gorgon, there will be about 11,000 workers needed of varying trades and abilities.
In Subsea, Marine and Drilling – which includes marine crews, welders, dredge workers, drillers etc. – we estimate there will be more than 3,500 workers required across the entire construction period.
For Civil and Earthworks – which includes equipment operators, concrete workers and labourers - we estimate Gorgon will require more than 2,000 workers.
For electrical and general construction – which includes electricians, instrumentation technicians, electrical trades’ assistants, scaffolders, riggers, crane operators and labourers – the number is almost 2,000.
The mechanical, piping and structural area includes mechanics, pipe fitters, welders, boilermakers etc. -we require about 1,500 workers.
For the remainder which includes building trades workers, painters and support staff like caterers and cleaners, the estimated number is also about 1,500.
So, in summary, Western Australia is at a very exciting chapter in its already rich history - and Chevron is very pleased to be a part of it.
The natural gas and energy industry is a great industry to be involved in and at Chevron we’re looking forward to engaging as many Western Australians as possible in this arena – to be a part of our human energy.
The challenge, obviously, is to ensure a steady supply of available and qualified workers and that’s why events like this are so important.
We have worked closely with Governments, industry groups and contractors to help address the employment challenges - and we will continue to do so.
We all know that having a readymade local workforce is good for the economy…and helps businesses to plan effectively.
In closing…I would like to congratulate the State Government, The West Australian Newspaper and all the other businesses and sponsors for organizing this event. Chevron is privileged to be taking part.
We believe that this event will serve to help Western Australia reach its full potential.