The Waitsia Stage 1 expansion is progressing well, with equipment, piping and instrumentation now installed. Pre-commissioning and testing commenced in mid-July and production is planned to resume in mid-August.

The MEPAU Project Manager says local contractors have been hired to do a lot of the work, at a value of approximately $2 million.

About 40-50 site personnel have stayed in Dongara and the lead contractor, Enscope, has rented three houses in Dongara for the duration of the Waitsia Stage 1 expansion project.

The Dongara Medical Centre has been engaged to provide support as required.

Local Companies working on site

Dongara company In-situ Construction was responsible for earthworks, concreting and fencing.

In-situ Construction advised they had between 7-10 local Dongara people working on the site over several months. In-situ Construction also utilised local suppliers, who in turn employed local staff.

Geraldton company GCo Australia was responsible for the electrical and instrumentation construction upgrades. Installation of new instruments and cabling has finished and it’s ready for commissioning.

Roughly 14 GCo Australia employees have been employed during the six months of construction. Although most are local to Geraldton, they have been living in Dongara during the project, staying at the Old Mill Motel.

Local Economy Benefits

In-situ Construction said the local focus is vital for Dongara’s economy.

“The people we employ spend their money locally, whether it’s buying food at the shop, going out to the pub or buying a house. MEPAU’s policy of utilising local contractors means all our local businesses benefit,” they say.

GCo Australia agreed, pointing out that a major contract like the Waitsia Stage 1 Expansion helps to keep local people employed, so they don’t have to leave town to find work.

Project progressing well despite COVID-19 pandemic

MEPAU is happy with the project’s progress considering the situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project workforce was almost all based in Western Australia and the project was not affected by travel restrictions.

Control measures were put in place in accordance with industry agreed COVID-19 management protocols which addressed social distancing requirements and health checks.

When production restarts, Waitsia Stage 1 will supply 20 TJ of gas per day to Alinta Gas customers in the Perth metropolitan area.

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The Northern Perth Basin

The Northern Perth Basin is a prolific oil and gas producing area covering a large portion of the Mid West region of Western Australia. The town of Dongara, located approximately 360km north of Perth, is the regional economic hub for a number of industries, including oil and gas.