Chief Executive’s Report

We have more exhibitors than ever before; in fact, our Business Manager Steve Dobbie has managed to squeeze a number of extra stands into the space – without losing any of the ambience or convenience for the stands already booked – to accommodate some of the patient companies on the long wait-list. If you are at the Convention, we encourage you to make the most of the information that is contained within the Exhibition.

APIA has, over the past several months, developed a national gas policy, which will highlight APIA’s involvement in the debate currently raging about natural gas. Transmission pipelines are a necessary part of the market – in between the large gas producers and large gas users – and, as acknowledged in the media, are in a position where our industry understands the value of both export and domestic gas.

Governments of all persuasions have begun to realise that the emergence of the LNG export market in the east will have a major impact on gas availability in the next few years and have established a number of taskforces and reviews to look at the challenges. The producers claim there will be plenty of gas, while the users claim they can’t get gas – in some cases at any price. Unfortunately, policy makers often take the simplest route to an announcement. They fiddle with the current market, which means trying to find a policy that shows politicians are “˜doing something’ about the gas market. Something like introducing managed pipeline capacity trading. It doesn’t matter that capacity trading already occurs when required, it’s a simple (for them) political “˜announceable’.

APIA and the owner members are part of the discussions. By working with policy makers rather than merely being negative, we should help to achieve a manageable outcome. We will continue to highlight that introducing changes to the market doesn’t address the issue of supply. If the transmission industry must have more transparency, then so must the supply industry. If the market must be reviewed, then the inclusion of the CSG-LNG sector must be seen as part of the market and face the same interrogation.

Our policy was covered in the main newspapers The Australian and The Australian Financial Review. We have proposed a change of direction for government policies. We want to see government encourage private investment in infrastructure that will, in turn, encourage access to natural gas. Such policies would see more infrastructure that has a long-term economic and/or environmental benefit. We also want to see policies that encourage the use of gas by electricity generators. Rather than a “˜pure’ renewable energy target (RET), those policies should encourage investment in “˜cleaner’ electricity generation. Under the current RET, coupled with the reduction in demand for electricity, any new generation facilities are likely to be coal-fired and that, clearly, is not what is intended by the RET.

We have received a positive reaction to the policy and we hope that we will be able to engage in fruitful policy development that will benefit the natural gas industry, and therefore the pipeline industry.

The Board meeting held during the Annual Convention will also be the last one chaired by our current President Kevin Lester. On behalf of the members and Steve Dobbie, Steve Davies, Peter Heffernan, Gisela Thaurer and Katy Whiting at the APIA Secretariat, I thank Kevin for his dedication and total commitment to APIA and the industry. During the time that he has been in this role, he also started a new job – moving from a construction company (AJ Lucas) to an owner (APA Group). During this major career change he continued to devote time and energy to APIA. This was a real achievement and APIA is the better for it. We look forward to Kevin’s continued involvement with APIA and the Board in his role as Immediate Past President.

In the meantime, enjoy the Annual Convention and Exhibition if you are here. If not, we hope you can make it to the next one!

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