February 24 - Oil and gas logistics company, ASCO, has been awarded the contract to build and operate a marine supply base in Darwin, Australia.

Work on the USD110 million base will commence in April and be completed by the end of 2013.

The project is being developed through ASCO's subsidiary ShoreASCO* and will employ 125 people at the peak of construction, create 25 ongoing jobs and support over 170 jobs in the wider community. ASCO Holdings purchased ShoreBase from the Shorelands Group in November 2010. ShoreBase is a provider of offshore and onshore logistic support to the oil and gas sector in Darwin, Australia. ShoreBase is now ShoreASCO and has formed a strategic alliance with Shorelands Group bringing a blend of international experience and local knowledge.

The Northern Territory Government identified the need for a dedicated facility in the region as Darwin now provides USD150 million in services and supplies every year to support the oil and gas industry. This is expected to increase to USD420 million a year over the next 20 years.

NT Government chief minister Paul Henderson said, "We are fast becoming the oil and gas capital of Australia and are about to undergo a significant economic boom. The base will be the first in northern Australia and provide a purpose-built facility for vessels that supply offshore oil and gas projects." The new base will increase Darwin's capacity to support offshore oil and gas developments in Northern Australia, including operations in the Arafura and Timor seas and Browse Basin.

Ashley Harrison, ASCO's country director in Australia said, "We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded such an important contract. The NT Government have to be congratulated on the foresight they have shown in building this base and ASCO's specialist experience in providing oil and gas logistics around the world will add tremendous value to this project". ShoreASCO has contracted local company Macmahon to build the base.