Business News 1 June 2012 - Mark Beyer
The state government has appointed a steering committee to evaluate the development of common user maritime infrastructure in the Pilbara, likely to be at either Anketell Point or Lumsden Point.
The steering committee will be chaired by Richard Muirhead, whose previous roles were state director of the CHOGM conference and chief executive of Tourism WA.
Mr Muirhead was also involved in the development a decade ago of the common use facility (CUF) at the Australian Marine Complex at Henderson, which the government says will be a model for the Pilbara facility.
Commerce Minister Simon O'Brien said the proposed facility was in response to increasing demand for facilities to service both the offshore oil & gas market and the defence industry in the region.
The steering committee will progress four detailed feasibility studies over the next 15 months, looking into market demand, economic benefit, front-end engineering and design and financial viability.
“This information will form the basis of a business case that will then be presented to the government for further consideration,” the minister said.
The Pilbara facility would provide access to common-use infrastructure for all regional businesses involved in the support and operation of commercial vessels servicing offshore oil & gas projects, housing and construction, and requirements of the Royal Australian Navy.
The government announced earlier this year the allocation of $5 million in Royalties for Regions funding for studies into the Pilbara facility.
This followed completion of an earlier study by AMC Management, which selected two preferred sites for the proposed facility – Anketell Point, east of Karratha, which has already been earmarked for a new iron ore port, and Lumsden Point, near Port Hedland.
AMC evaluated Dampier, which is the location of Mermaid Marine’s privately-owned marine supply base. However it found this location was constrained by congestion and limited land.
The steering committee includes representatives from the departments of Commerce, Regional Development and Lands, State Development and Transport together with members from LandCorp and the Port Hedland and Dampier port authorities.