Woodside Keeps Momentum Going

2 Apr 2015 12:04 PM -

PERTH company Momentum Engineering is setting itself up to make a serious play for brownfields engineering support for the Browse, Prelude and Ichthys projects after securing a 12-month engineering services contract for all of Woodside Petroleum’s North West Shelf assets.

Momentum says the deal not only shows that locals can compete with overseas players for major projects, but also that the option is a more sensible solution for all involved – especially the operator and investors who sink billions of dollars into mega-projects.

“We’re setting ourselves up for the brownfields engineering support [for Browse, Prelude and Ichthys] which we believe requires local people working directly with the locally based clients who are familiar with the existing assets,” Momentum general manager Paul Dragovic told Energy News.

“That enables you to provide efficient and fit-for-purpose engineering; whereas if you’re going to China and India [for those services] you lose that connection – which is all well and good for major projects, but we [think] Perth should become a specialist in that brownfields engineering support, much like Aberdeen is for the North Sea.”

He FLNG projects were “never going to be designed or built in Perth, but the ongoing operations, maintenance and brownfields support will be done for Perth”.

“That’s where Western Australia should be concentrating its efforts for supporting those projects,” he said.

Momentum completed multiple million dollars’ worth of work for Woodside last year, having assisted the major with its shutdowns in the past and working with a major maintenance group.

The Perth company has provided engineering services to Woodside’s onshore and offshore facilities for a number of years, delivering brownfields engineering and supporting successful offshore maintenance campaigns.

For Momentum, which employs approximately 100 people, the contract represents a significant development in its relationship with Woodside and demonstrates the Aussie major’s commitment to local content.

“This contract shows that local engineering companies can compete with low cost overseas engineering by providing efficient fit for purpose engineering solutions,” Dragovic said.

After meeting face to face with the Browse joint venturers in late February, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett told media in the southwest town of Busselton that he had made it clear the state government’s support for the project was conditional on a commitment to domestic gas supply and an onshore supply base.

Engineers Australia WA division president Francis Norman subsequently told Energy News there was plenty of opportunity for West Australians to benefit from Browse and even Prelude.

“There is sometimes the belief that we don’t have the skills to support an FLNG industry, but we do – we’ve supported FPSOs for 20-odd years in Australian waters and Australian LNG plants along our coastline,” Norman told Energy News on the sidelines of the recent Australasian Oil and Gas Expo in Perth.

“There was clear belief in everyone we spoke to that we’re not in a position to design and build them from scratch, but once they were here and operating we could learn from them to the point where we would be able to start to influence how they were designed and built in other parts of the world.

“We would know how they work, rather than know how they’re designed and built. So then as time went by we’d influence earlier in the development cycle what future FLNG projects would look like.”

As featured on EnergyNewsBulletin.net on 10 April 2015.