* Queensland LNG projects will need imported labour
* Bechtel says 2011 revenue outlook unclear
* Bechtel says growing well outside US, US flat
MELBOURNE, Oct 7 Bechtel Corp, the largest U.S.
engineering firm, said all three liquefied natural gas projects
it was involved with in Australia's Queensland state were
currently running on schedule.
"All the projects are currently making their plans -- not
without their challenges, lots of risks," Bechtel President,
Mining and Metals, Andrew Greig said in Melbourne on Friday.
The privately owned company is working on 14 resources
projects in Australia, including three LNG projects in
Queensland: the $16 billion Gladstone project, BG Group's
$15 billion Curtis Island project and ConocoPhillips and
Origin Energy's $20 billion Asia Pacific LNG project.
The three LNG projects are on different timelines, so the
company plans to shift workers from one project to the next
along the way, in the face of a construction boom in the
resources sector which has led to skills shortages.
However, Bechtel Chief Executive Riley Bechtel said the
company was likely to need to import workers like pipe fitters,
electricians and welders.
"We foresee we will be challenged for the supply of labour
in Australia," Bechtel told reporters following a rare public
The company has locked in workers' wages typically with
escalators of 2.5 percent every six months built into their
contracts, so it is not worried about potential wage blowouts on
its Australian resources projects.
"We think we've mitigated that risk to the extent possible,"
Other challenges included protecting dugong and sea turtle
populations on and around Curtis Island and protecting the local
community from "a surge of ill-behaved construction workers" on
their days off, Bechtel said.
Bechtel said it was unclear whether the group's revenue
would grow in 2011, following a 9 percent decline to $27.9
billion in 2010.
"So far our business has held up quite well. We are growing
well in most markets outside the United States," he said.
"We have been relatively flat and were declining in the U.S.
because that economy is particularly challenged right now," he
He added that regulatory hurdles for contractors in the
United States were higher than elsewhere in the world, a factor
discouraging the company's customers from pursuing projects in
the world's largest economy.
Bechtel, which manages projects from building nuclear
reactors to bridges, competes with companies such as Fluor Corp
, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc and URS Corp