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LNG: a growing source of jobs across Asia

20/11/2018
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The LNG industry has come a long way since the first LNG cargo was shipped from Lake Charles, Louisiana to Canvey Island in the UK in 1959. Today, the LNG industry plays a crucial role in delivering the world’s energy requirements, and the growth of the sector has been rapid in recent decades. In 2000, less than 100 million tonnes of LNG per year was being produced. Fast forward to 2017 that figure had risen to 284 million tonnes. With demand growing most strongly in Asia, we’re expecting to see LNG become an increasingly important source of engineering jobs in Asia.

In this article, we’ll analyse this demand growth in closer detail, and highlight the job opportunities available to technical and engineering professionals within the LNG sector across region and beyond.
China, and the wider Asia region, is leading demand growth for LNG.
(Image via Wikimedia Commons).

A new wave of LNG growth for Asia

As you would expect, leading the growth in energy demand is China which is undergoing the transition from coal-to-gas as part of efforts to implement a clean air policy. How big is this demand? Chinese LNG demand grew by a world record 8 mt in 2017 and is set to grow by another world record 12 mt in 2018. In total this accounts for a staggering 50% of global LNG demand growth. With China only part-way through its clean air transition policy, it’s likely we’ll continue to see surging demand for LNG from this Asian economic powerhouse.

Asian LNG demand growth isn’t just confined to China though. It’s very much a region-wide phenomenon. In total, Asia-Pacific LNG demand is set to grow a further 60% to reach 337 mmtpa by 2030. Compare this to the fact that the rest of the global market is only 75 mmtpa currently.
The size of LNG projects being sanctioned across Asia has increased considerably through 2018.
(Image via Wikimedia Commons).

With growth comes projects, and jobs

As we’re fond of saying here on EngineeringPro, with demand growth, comes growth in new projects and job opportunities. LNG is no exception to this informal rule, and data from Wood Mackenzie bears this out. Following a dearth of new greenfield LNG project sanctions in recent years, 2017 and 2018 have seen a turnaround in this position. 

Back in October we saw Shell and their partners make the FID on the LNG Canada project valued at $30 billion, which will unlock energy exports for North American natural gas to Asia.  We are witnessing not only more LNG projects being sanctioned, but an increase in the size of the sanctioned projects. The average project to hit FID in 2018 is over twice the size of those in 2017, up from around 375 million boe last year to around 850 million boe this year.

As Angus Rodger, upstream research director at Wood Mackenzie points out, Asian LNG projects are no exception:

“Asia-Pacific matches the trend exactly, with a jump to an average of 287 million boe versus 143 million boe in 2017. Key sanctions include SK320 and SK408 in Malaysia, Reliance’s KG D6 satellite cluster in deepwater India, and CNOOC’s first operated deepwater gas project in China, Lingshui. Together these projects will require nearly US$8billion of investment”.

The LNG projects on the horizon for Asia are diverse too.

In addition to the more-traditional land-based import terminals, other projects include floating storage and regasification (FSRU) facilities which offer quicker turnaround times for those countries needing to energy fulfil demand sooner rather than later. Also underway and recently completed are several Floating Liquid National Gas (FLNG) projects which will allow gas to be liquefied at sea. 

Several countries across the region are exploring options to become ‘LNG hubs’- where break bulking and bunkering can be facilitated. Singapore in particular is seeking to become a regional hub for LNG trading using on-shore receiving tanks. 
Recently completed FLNG projects include Shell's giant Prelude
(Image via Shell).

A variety of job opportunities

As with many large-scale energy projects, LNG projects require the skills, expertise and experience of a wide variety of people from across multiple disciplines. Across Asia we’re seeing a growth in demand for both technical and non-technical professionals to support new LNG projects. Some of these positions are generalised positions which are transferable across industries (think commercial positions such as Business Development Manager, or Marketing Executive), through to highly specialised roles that are unique to the LNG industry (think Vessel Manager (LNG), or LNG Market Analyst etc).

With on-shore projects (terminals etc) each phase requires different skillsets. The initial construction phase has job opportunities for construction workers, crane operators, engineering managers, welders and others. Training for many of these construction phase projects is available on-the-job, however the tight deadlines of many projects means experienced workers can gain an advantage in securing positions.

Once operational LNG projects require a different set of personnel, including mechanics, electricians, plant operators, as well as white-collar personnel to oversee operational affairs and back office functions such as accounting, compliance, and HR.

Beyond direct employment on the projects themselves, the supply chain and supporting companies of these projects also offer a wealth of employment opportunities. These companies can include providers of marine services, periodic maintenance providers with expertise in maintaining turbines and compressors, suppliers of consumables such as nitrogen, refrigerant gases and lubricants, and tanker truck haulers and other logistics providers.

With the above points in mind, it’s more important than ever for LNG projects to have the right recruitment partner in place to help them secure the broad range of skilled professionals they need to complete their projects within deadline and budget, and to keep it running once operational.
With countries such as Singapore aiming to become LNG trading hubs, the need for LNG specialists in the region is set to continue to grow
(Image via Emerson).

Start planning your LNG workforce now

Fircroft has helped the world’s biggest LNG projects to recruitment technical and engineering professionals since 1970. Our unrivalled footprint across Asia covering Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia, and Vietnam, and our wide range of recruitment and workforce solutions means that wherever your project is located, or whatever workforce support you need Fircroft can help. To find out how Fircroft can help you, contact us now for a free consultation with your local Fircroft representative. If you’re a candidate, you can find our latest LNG job vacancies here.
Tags: Oil & Gas
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Аскар, 22 November 2018
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LNG: a growing source of jobs across Asia - Time to read 6 min
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