Wheatstone LNG project sends steel pipe contract offshore

Japanese company JFE Steel will provide 150,000 tonnes of steel pipe for Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG project, representing another blow for Australia’s struggling steel industry.

The 225km of steel pipe will be used to transport LNG from an offshore processing plant to Chevron’s onshore facilities, says a report from LNG World News.

According to the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) state secretary Steve McCartney, Western Australia’s manufacturing industry is already in dire straits, without Chevron sending another contract overseas.

“Since our WA Jobs from WA Resources campaign started highlighting the increased offshoring of engineering and fabrication work by our big resources companies more than a year ago, Colin Barnett has promised a lot, but actually taken WA backwards,” he said.

“Not only is Chevron awarding less work to local steel fabricators, but the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) continues to confirm what we all know – WA manufacturing jobs are heading offshore.”

The announcement follows an emergency meeting of steelworkers earlier this month, designed to address the worsening crisis facing the steel industry.

The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) hosted the meeting in Melbourne on 11 April, during which over 80 steelworkers from major steel plants reportedly met with representatives of federal and state governments as well as heads of industry to discuss and plan strategies to save the struggling Australian steel industry.

AWU national secretary Paul Howes said the crisis facing the steel industry in Australia had worsened in recent months and more needed to be done to save this sector.

“Australian steel manufacturers are on the brink of collapse," Howes said.

"We have already seen over 1,000 jobs go from BlueScope’s Port Kembla and Western Port plants and Onesteel has confirmed it will shed up to 430 jobs by the end of this financial year.

"With numbers like these – there is no doubt the Australian dollar has continued to reek [sic] havoc on our local steel manufacturers and we fear it’s going to get worse before it gets better."

The steel manufacturing delegation reportedly discussed: the high Australian dollar; lack of action from the Reserve Bank; the impact of the mining boom; government and private sector procurement policies; and illegal dumping from overseas markets.

[Image: AWU.net.au]