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Regional Asset Maintenance Services

LOCAL COLLABORATION THE KEY TO SUCCESS

Maintaining the inner workings of a liquified natural gas (LNG) plant requires the skills, talent and commitment of individuals and businesses who are willing to work within the requirements of a major hazardous facility.

One business that has been instrumental in the legacy and day-to-day running of Darwin LNG is Regional Asset Maintenance (RAM) Services. RAM Services is an NT family owned Darwin-based company focused on the maintenance requirements of companies owning and operating large assets in Northern Australia.

RAM Services carry out the building and grounds maintenance services work at Darwin LNG and have held this contract since 2005.

Prior to construction of Darwin LNG, a commitment was made to establish this contract locally. After going to tender, RAM Services came back with the most favourable business model as a result of their flexibility to tap into the broader market and offer fit-for-purpose solutions. 

The RAM Services contract at Darwin LNG has morphed in many ways since 2005, having grown from a pure focus on grounds maintenance, cleaning and building services to encompass a full facilities maintenance offering. This contract now takes in heating, ventilation and air conditioning services, civil projects, new builds, electrical installs, firefighting and life support equipment services. This responsiveness has seen RAM Services become firmly embedded at Darwin LNG.

RAM Services has had up to 200 sub-contractors working at Darwin LNG at one time. Through its sub-contractor management capabilities, RAM Services engage over 30 local sub-contractor companies, including several Indigenous businesses that are now providing a range of services through RAM Services to Darwin LNG. 

“We engage local Indigenous businesses and provide training for their employees, ensuring better access to support our contracts. We now have seven full time Indigenous employees working across our contracts,” says company owner, Greg Haigh.

Engaging with the local service and supply industry is a mutually beneficial relationship for Darwin LNG. Such collaboration builds the skills and confidence needed in a competitive global industry, ones that are able to be delivered locally, reducing time and costs.

“RAM Services has increased employee numbers from 15 in 2014 to 38 in 2018 and have increased the level of training to meet site requirements. We have also promoted sub-contract personnel through apprenticeships and training programs to support our activity.

“The fact that a global company has put their faith in a local Darwin business to maintain their facilities has allowed RAM Services to promote to others owning and operating large assets in the NT. Based on our performance and history at Darwin LNG, we’ve been able to grow.”

As a result, the flow on effects into the community run deep.

“Securing this contract at DLNG has changed us forever – it has fueled our growth as a business and as people. We now have a company that is truly focused on the needs of the oil and gas industry, and a team of people with the expertise and experience to service this global industry,” Greg says.

Businesses such as RAM Services in Darwin have continued to grow and shine in their ability to service and support the LNG industry.

The economic and social benefits of operations at Darwin LNG reach far and wide into the local community: focusing on local employment capacity building helps ensure capability is grown and maintained at a local level to sustain the development of the industry.

Approximately $100 million per year is spent in the local community on wages and local contracts, and there is strong collaboration between Darwin LNG and the local industry to identify and build capacity. This is reflected in the fact that 50% of third-party contracts at Darwin LNG are spent with NT businesses, a remarkable effort that has grown between industry and local service and supply.

An additional injection of $17 million was spent with businesses on NT local goods and services to support the 2018 Shutdown, a major maintenance program that is carried out every three to four years. Up to 500 people safely executed 36,000 hours of work during the last Shutdown.

Since construction began in 2003, opportunities to employ Territorians has been maximised. There is a 100% residential workforce policy, with approximately 350 direct jobs across operations at Darwin LNG, the supply base and Woods Street office. Further employment from contracts supports projects and maintenance programs.

Darwin LNG’s footprint is cemented in the Top End community for years to come, with the prospect of a new source of feed gas being negotiated with offshore candidates to backfill the plant. If approved, this will be the first backfill project in Australia and will extend operations at Darwin LNG for another 20+ years

Currently, gas is fed into Darwin LNG via a 502 kilometre subsea pipeline from the Bayu-Undan field in Timor-Leste offshore waters. This gas supply is expected to run out around 2022.

In preparation for backfill, a Transition Work Program will be undertaken at Darwin LNG between the end of Bayu-Undan gas supply and prior to the new source coming online. The works will include minor plant modifications to accommodate changes to the feed gas and a maintenance program.

The maintenance program will be similar to past Shutdown work at DLNG, which saw strong participation by NT businesses.

Darwin LNG will be looking to leverage this capacity to support the transition work and keep opportunies flowing for the local service and supply industry. TQ