The company will invest more than AUD $8 million in its Henderson, WA, facility. Phase one of the upgrade will facilitate an increased range of commercial vessel support and offshore fabrication opportunities.

The expansion was announced today during the 2011 Offshore Europe exhibition in Aberdeen, Scotland.

BAE Systems Australia’s Maritime Oil & Gas General Manager John Wood said the company already provided services to the oil and gas sectors from several international sites, including the USA.

“Our entry into the Australian market therefore represents a logical extension of our global capability.

“During the past decade, the company has produced more than 100,000 tonnes of complex steel structures in Australia primarily in the naval sector and we are keen to transfer this expertise to clients in the oil and gas sectors.”

New works to be undertaken at Henderson include extension of rail lines, upgrading the main construction shed to include a new blast and paint area, refurbishing of the vessel turntable, yard sealing and a new office complex.

When complete, the 14.5hectare site will be capable of simultaneously handling a larger volume of vessels concurrently, and some of the largest and most specialised structures and modules in use in the oil and gas market now and in the future.

Mr Wood said the company would target fabrication opportunities including subsea structures, pipe spools, manifolds, risers and modularised processing facilities.

“We are also keen to expand our ability to maintain and modify a range of offshore support vessels such as supply and drill ships, and construction barges.”

The Henderson facility already possesses the largest Ship Lift in Western Australia, capable of lifting and transporting structures in excess of 8,000 tonnes.

Western Australian Department of Commerce General Manager, Marine, Defence, Oil and Gas, John O'Hare welcomed the announcement as a major vote of confidence in Western Australia's strategic position in oil and gas services.

"BAE Systems expansion is an endorsement of the State's decision to form a cluster of significant marine, defence and resources fabrication and support industries at the Australian Marine Complex (AMC) supported by State government investment in common use infrastructure.

The AMC is rapidly becoming a major marine support and oil and gas fabrication cluster in the region," Mr O'Hare said.

BAE Systems’ site is located directly alongside the AMC’s Common User Facility with its State Government funded common use infrastructure.

It has direct waterfront access, a construction and prefabrication hall with a combined capacity of more than 7,000 square metres, and approximately 10 hectares of lay down space.