The chief executive of engineering firm WorleyParsons, John Grill, says high costs in Australia are putting new projects at risk.
Mr Grill said on Sunday he agreed with comments from BP Australasia president Paul Waterman last week that a big pipeline of projects - around $200 billion worth - were at risk.
'I'm sure that's right,' he told the ABC's Inside Business program.
Mr Grill said there were two factors to be considered: the cost of Australian workers and the high Australian dollar.
He said wages for engineers in Australia were 50 per cent higher than they were compared to anywhere else in the world where Worley had offices.
'The cost of labour on site, essentially the blue-collar labour, has been - through shortages - forced up to levels that are very high in comparison to places where foreign workers can be brought in at lower wages now,' Mr Grill said.
'The exchange rate has had a big effect as well.
'When the dollar was 72 cents (in US currency), Australia was definitely more competitive.'
Mr Grill also said Australia lacked a sufficient number of skilled trades people such as boilermakers, welders, fitters, electrical and instrumentation specialists.
'We've had a problem in the productivity of people because they're inexperienced,' he said.
'We haven't had the same time to train them.'
Mr Grill said that in the minerals sector, it was cheaper to start new projects in the developing world, such as Africa, than Australia.
Project developers had preferred Australia because the political risk was lower, but as the cost differential becomes greater, major operators would shift more towards the developing world.