You're reading: Local Operators Key to Waitsia Success

Local operators have long been the key to the success of the Mid West gas industry. Since operations started almost fifty years ago in Dongara, local operators have run the facilities.

The Waitsia Stage 1 Expansion is run by eight operators who are local residents, and two PICs (Person In Charge) who fly in and out of Perth.

Of the eight operators, six have electrical, gas-fitting or mechanical qualifications.

The Operators and PICs are supported by a Site Administrator, who has recently joined the team. A Maintenance Scheduler & Materials Coordinator will soon be added to the site-based team.

Longstanding team members

One of the Operators, an electrical instrument operator/maintainer, has worked for the company as a contractor for more than 12 years. He started when the facility was operated by Arc Energy and continued to work through the AWE Limited era before Mitsui E&P Australia (MEPAU) acquired the company in 2018.

He says MEPAU is a good company to work for and recognises that there are not many places where you can work two weeks on and two weeks off yet still be home every night. He particularly enjoys the variety of work, saying that while his main electrical trade skills are important, he’s also involved with many other aspects of running an operating gas plant.

The team works extraordinarily well together and has been together for many years.

New positions for local residents

New roles based at the production facility have been introduced since the Stage 1 Expansion was commissioned in August 2020. Production doubled from ~10 TJ/day to ~20 TJ/day and a new position for a Site Administrator was created.

A Dongara local since she was just six years old, the new Site Administrator worked on the Waitsia Stage 1 Expansion site as Project Administrator with the lead contractor, Enscope, until the project finished. She then transitioned across to MEPAU.

She says it’s unusual for a small town to have such high quality employment opportunities.

“Dongara is a really nice little coastal town. It has a good feel about it. Whenever I’ve been away and come back it always feels lovely to see all the big trees on the main street. I’m glad I don’t have to leave home to find a good job,” she says.

Another new Dongara based position, for a Maintenance Scheduler & Materials Coordinator, is currently being advertised.

Working out of the Waitsia facility office along with the Site Administrator, the position is full-time, during office hours.

Dongara Locals Encouraged to Apply for new role

MEPAU is ideally looking to source the role locally. With so many Dongara residents having been employed in the gas and mining industries, both FIFO and locally based, there is a high likelihood there are a number of locally based people with relevant experience.

Regardless of whether or not the role is filled by someone who lives nearby, they will join the many other MEPAU employees and contractors whose work provides gas to consumers and who are valued contributors to the local Mid West community.