A rising number of energy companies are guaranteeing tens of billions of dollars to construct the world’s leading floating constructions to exploit offshore gas fields due to dealing with increasing costs linked to constructing onshore gas plants.

Within 10 years’ time, roughly 6 floating processing plants are planned to be deployed on the world’s oceans, some weighing similarly to 6 aircraft carriers and equating to the length of 0.3 miles. Oil firms and ship builders are posing ideas of a plan that will convert the offshore gas division and decrease costs by up to a quarter.  Critics perceive this as an experimental and controversial technological “innovation” that can’t hit jobs and investment.

With the aim to allow former uneconomic exploitation of reserves, essentially the innovative technology aims to enable gas to be received in field’s too far off land for pipes. However critics are sceptical about the plans to utilise floating LNG platforms closer to shore instead of constructing a plant on land.

In 2017 the first ever floating liquefied natural gas plant is due to launch in Australia. Unions are currently challenging and fighting this risk. This being done because the Unions see this as cheap foreign employment being utilised on a floating LNG platform in an isolated area that could basically pull up anchor and go elsewhere once a gas field is exhausted. This is being denied in the media and other mediums; it is argued that its $12.6 billion floating Prelude plant being constructed in South Korea to sit off Australia would mainly make use of local labour. Further arguments indicate that it’s going to be occupied by Australians, adding that 80% to 85% of jobs would be local based.  Unions are responding stating that local labours couldn’t only lose out on manufacture work for onshore plants, but once in operation a floating plant may potentially edge local labour laws.

In a circumstance that could potentially provide insight on how labour laws relate to rigs or floating platforms, a lawsuit has been created on behalf of four Filipinos in a Western Australian court claiming they were paid the same roughly amounting to A$3.10 hourly while functioning on an offshore oil rig, less than a fifth of Australia’s minimum wage of A$15.96. This lawsuit focuses on a disagreement over whether anchors or various lines fastening rigs and other floating production vessels to the seabed mean all labours should be subject to local labour laws.


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