The Quoddy Tides

Eastport, Maine

2005 November 25

Downeast LNG promises training
and local hiring where possible

by Marie Jones Holmes

Downeast LNG presented a preliminary list of positions for the company's proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project at a meeting held November 17 at the Robbinston Grade School. Downeast LNG proposes to build a terminal and storage tanks at Mill Cove in Robbinston.

According to Downeast LNG President Dean Girdis, the company proposes to pursue preferential hiring of the residents of Robbinston, Washington County and the state of Maine. For some positions, local residents would need to meet certain education or technical requirements. "These positions and requirements will be identified as the permitting process progresses," commented Girdis.

The company estimates that about 80% of the estimated 300 construction jobs — or 240 jobs — can be filled by residents of Maine. It is possible that the remaining 60 construction jobs — which would include highly skilled tradespeople, engineers and supervision crews with experience constructing LNG tanks, cryogenic technology and related facilities — could also be filled by Maine residents.

The company states it will encourage and support awards to local and regional vendors and subcontractors whenever practical. After factors such as safety, quality, availability and delivered price have been evaluated, preference in awards will be given, in order, to vendors from Robbinston, Washington County, Maine, New England, United States, Canada and other countries.

To hire locally at a maximum level, Girdis says, "We must assure maximum opportunity and plan ahead training." Darin McGaw of the Washington County Community College told the approximately 100 people who attended the seminar that training is available for construction and operation jobs. Training courses would range from nine months to two years. He anticipates that there could be a leveraging of state funds for specialized training. According to Girdis, when technical training is required to supplement the skill set of local residents, Downeast LNG is committed to enrolling candidates in paid training programs.

It is anticipated that after the permitting process and project approval, land preparation for the entire site would take about 13 months followed by a two-year construction period for a total of about 332 jobs over a three-year period. It is estimated that upon completion of construction and the beginning of actual operation of the facility, approximately 63 people would be employed.

Robert J. Peacock II of Quoddy Pilots USA discussed the type of tugboats needed for an LNG operation. The tugs are not the normal type tug. The specialized tractor tugs usually have a crew of five to six persons. Several tugs would be used in the operation. Peacock said, "If you want a job, you need training." In some instances the requirement for deck experience could be met by fishermen.

As of December 1, Downeast LNG will have an operating office located on Route 1 in Robbinston in the area near the old Robbinston general store.

© 2005 The Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.