JH steps into ER

Energy & Resources is essentially a rebranding of John Holland’s Structural Mechanical Process division.The business has been recruiting to meet its needs now and in the future, and to bolster skills in areas it has not traditionally covered.That it is so aggressively chasing oil and gas work is understandable in a gas rush. However, Energy & Resources will still have a lot of mining work on its books. A lot of that has involved port expansion works and the Worsley Alumina Efficiency and Growth project. While the Energy & Resources business is separate from the John Holland Mining business, which is essentially an earthmoving concern, there is potential to leverage any contacts each has.Energy & Resources general manager Brendan Petersen said the rebrand better signified the way the old SMP business was heading.Like most people in the sector, John Holland’s management have seen the way the oil and gas sector is growing and want some of the action.“We’ve been strategising over the past 12 months to make the best of the opportunities,” Petersen said. “We’ll be leveraging off our successes in the minerals area.”However, the business has mostly had experience in the civil and mechanical construction fields. It is going into a very competitive area in which it has no pedigree.Petersen acknowledges that point but said the business had been recruiting heavily to bring in the necessary skills.“For the new projects we’ll have new people onboard with particular technical skills,” he said.One of the key drawcards Petersen believes John Holland brings is the size of its balance sheet.“Every owner wants their project built by skilled people who can work in a safe manner,” he said. “They want security of delivery.”Petersen argues John Holland’s healthy balance sheet and its national workforce give that security.Besides bringing in specific skills, the company has been recruiting “aggressively”.“I know we need to recruit and bring in somewhere around 500 to 600 people over the next 12 months in Western Australia alone,” Petersen said. “That’s with our existing projects.“But we’re seeing more people in the Qantas clubs moving from one state to another. We also have a strong pipeline of 457 [visa] employees.”While oil and gas is the brightest star on the horizon, there is also a lot of upside coming from resources expansions and the infrastructure growth needed to accommodate them.On the oil and gas front, Energy & Resources has won a $160 million contract to deliver Apache Energy’s Devil Creek development project near Karratha.Petersen expects next year to return about the same as 2008-09, in which the Energy & Resources group booked $464 million revenue. He expects the revenues to start growing in 2011 and 2012.

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