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ANALYSISAUSTRALIA


charter requests are for North Western Australia with mining equipment slated as cargo. We have not noted a major increase in requests over the past two years but believe this will change.”


It may well be that this current dip is just a pause in the general pattern of mega projects for oil and gas exploration. A report from industry consultant GL Noble Denton says that as long as the oil price remains high, the bonanza for offshore heavy lift shipping and project cargo operations will continue. Australia is listed as the world’s third most attractive investment destination by professionals questioned in the report, entitled ‘Seismic shifts: the outlook for the oil and gas industry in 2013’. It was produced with input from more than 400 senior oil and gas professionals and in-depth interviews with 20 industry executives.


Mega projects


GL Noble Denton says the mega projects are providing a significant source of optimism amongst oil and gas professionals in the Asia Pacific region. A healthy 72 percent of respondents in the region said they were highly or somewhat confident about the outlook of their business in 2013. Also, 37 percent of respondents to GL Noble Denton’s research expect to increase their spending in research and development this year.


This optimism is founded on projects such as Shell’s USD12 billion Prelude development, which is expected to implement floating liquefied natural gas


Gorgon is still the most active project in Australia. Here Combi Lift moves project cargo for the gasfield.


(FLNG) technology. The facility is expected to begin operations in 2016. However, Australia stands alone in the region. No other country in the Asia Pacific area appeared in the report’s shortlist of leading investment destinations for the oil and gas industry.


We have not noted a major increase in requests over the past two years but believe this will change. – Steve Harvey, Ruslan International


The report also throws up some question marks. Its authors flag fears that as these projects grow, operational costs will increase substantially. More than half of all Asia Pacific respondents (53 percent) believe that rising operating costs are the biggest barrier to growth.


Richard Bailey, GL Noble Denton’s Asia


Pacific executive vice president, commented: “There are fears that as these projects grow, operational costs will increase substantially. As many Australian mega projects reach a critical phase in their development, any change in costs could be crucial to future progress. “Careful forward planning and effective implementation of work is now more important than ever to ensure these concerns are not realised.”


Infrastructure problems


Such mixed signals continue when industry players are asked about the areas of operational or infrastructure deficiency that are causing them problems. One such area of concern is the delays being suffered in getting Customs clearances, while perceived cutbacks in Australian Customs and Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) resources are another irritant. From an air freight perspective, Ruslan International’s Harvey said his firm receives excellent service at Perth and all other airports that it operates through in Australia but added: “The only downside is the Customs restrictions that are in place for Western Australia. “Air freight costs have become more


98 July/August 2013 www.heavyliftpfi.com


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