Waitsia contractor Clough placed under voluntary administration

Australian engineering and construction firm Clough, the main contractor of the Waitsia gas expansion project, was placed into voluntary administration after a deal by its parent Murray & Roberts and Webuild fell through.

In November, Murray & Roberts entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Webuild to dispose of 100 percent of its shareholding in Clough for about A$350 million ($235 million).

Italian firm Webuild has a history of working with Clough on major projects, including a hydropower project in Eastern Australia and in Regionerate Rail.

However, Murray & Roberts and Webuild terminated the sale deal by mutual agreement, according to a statement by Clough released on Monday.

“In the absence of the sale proceeding, the board of directors of Clough have decided to place Clough and its Australian subsidiaries into voluntary administration (VA) in order to conduct a restructure of the business,” it said.

Clough’s directors have appointed Sal Algeri, Jason Tracy, David Orr and Glen Kanevsky of Deloitte as administrators effective immediately and they now become responsible for the company’s affairs.

Waitsia expansion, Papua LNG

Last year, Clough secured a contract for the second stage of the Waitsia gas project in Western Australia.

A unit of Japan’s Mitsui & Co, along with its partner in the Waitsia JV Beach Energy, awarded the engineering, procurement and construction gig to Clough.

Mitsui and Beach took a final investment decision on the expansion project in December 2020.

Prior to that, the partners signed third-party tolling deals with Australia’s Woodside and its North West Shelf LNG venture participants.

Beach also recently finalized a deal to supply LNG to a unit of energy giant BP.

Under the sales and purchase deal, BP Singapore will buy about 3.75 million tonnes of Beach’s expected LNG volumes from the second stage of the Waitsia gas project.

Following the Clough move, Beach released a statement on Tuesday.

“Beach and Mitsui E&P Australia (Mitsui), its joint venture partner and Waitsia operator, will work closely with the administrator, contractors, and stakeholders to ensure continued progress of the 250 TJ/day Waitsia Stage 2 gas plant,” the firm said.

“Beach has been working with Mitsui in planning for various outcomes and will continue to work to deliver the best outcome for the project,” the company said.

Besides Waitsia, Clough and France’s Technip Energies have recently won a contract to perform the front-end engineering design (FEED) for TotalEnergies’ Papua LNG project’s upstream production facilities in Papua New Guinea. Technip Energies is the leader of this consortium.

The upstream production facilities cover the development of the Elk and Antelope onshore gas fields including the well pads and the central processing facility.

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