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Ship to shore, Onslow’s ready for business

Until recently a muddy Pilbara creek, the $125 million first stage of the Onslow Marine Support Base is open for business and touting for customers.

Managers from Chevron, Woodside Petroleum, Quadrant Energy and others rubbed shoulders with uniformed navy and army personnel yesterday at the official opening.

“A lot of it has been build it and they will come,” operator Agility Logistics’ Australasia chief executive Frank Guerra said of the project’s development. “I don’t think at one stage did we ever think this is not going to work.”

The facility is being offered as an alternative to Dampier and Exmouth, with cost-saving proximity to offshore oil and gas fields in the northern Carnarvon Basin, equipment and its 204m laydown area the selling points.

“We’ve got a space that if all four (oil and gas) majors wanted to be here at one time it’s no problem,” developer OMSB’s managing director Andrew Natta said.

Mr Natta said the base could help bring project assembly work back to Australia because of its ability to handle large modules on a waterfront.

On the interest of Defence personnel, he said: “It’s important for anyone and everyone that runs logistics or operations offshore to know the capabilities of all the locations.”

Privately-owned OMSB is pushing ahead in a matter of weeks with work on stage two of the project — including dredging of the waterway for bigger boats — as it awaits Federal and State approval of a $16.8 million loan.

“That’s all going to be sorted out in the next few months,” WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti, who opened the base, said.

“I suspect the State is very very supportive of this. Of course, that’s a further decision to be made.”

Lucid Economics provided a range of economic and financial analysis to support this project.

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