The rapid growth of Australia’s natural gas industry could offer a new home for expat oil workers, migration experts have warned.

Queensland’s natural gas resources has sparked an LNG boom in the region, with the chief executive of Energy Skills Queensland warning that the industry faces the same skills shortage currently impacting the North Sea.

Hundreds of workers have already made the move from the UK to Australia for construction projects on the gas fields in the last few years, but a new report by the Emigration Group suggests that number could grow exponentially in the next decade.

“Queensland is predicting they will employ up to 17,000 workers in the gas sector by 2024,” said Emigration Group director Paul Arthur.

“This is more than double what they originally predicted, and it is likely they will need to look to migration to fill skill shortages.

“There has been and continues to be a huge construction boom in Australia and we’ve had hundreds of Brits from project managers to architects, engineers and plumbers emigrating down under in the last few years to fill job vacancies.

“The gas sector has partly fuelled this boom along with Australia’s general economic growth, which has led to increased commercial and residential construction projects.”

The company, which is holding seminars next month on migrating down under, said the Surat and Bowen basin growth, plus the increase in gas processing operations in Gladstone, would fuel a switch down under for many workers.

“The gas sector in Queensland is now a globally significant industry which will create thousands of job opportunities for Brits not just in gas, but across a whole range of industries, due to the gas sector fuelling economic growth throughout Queensland,” said Arthur.