President’s Message

Of greatest significance is the successful application for an Energy Pipelines Co-operative Research Centre (EPCRC). The formation of the EPCRC is probably the single most important event in the Association’s history and is a credit to the prodigious efforts of Research and Standards Committee (RSC) Chairman Leigh Fletcher, researcher Ankie Larsson and their support group from the RSC.

Also significant is the development of a closer working relationship with the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA). Our Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright and APPEA Chief Executive Belinda Robinson meet regularly. Cheryl and I were guests at an APPEA board dinner the evening before the breakfast launch of the gas promotion campaign Natural Gas Positive Energy, held at Parliament House. I was pleased that Belinda’s speech noted the strong working relationship between APIA and APPEA.

Having met again with Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson, and with his deputy head of department in August, I feel confident that the Federal Government is aware of the important contribution gas and gas pipelines make and will continue to make toward the nation’s energy economy as we venture further into a carbon constrained future.

As we enter the twilight of 2009, it is hoped that we will also see the conclusion of what has been for many, a very trying business period. In general, our industry has fared better than most but some sectors have seen a downturn, which will hopefully not be extended.

Over the last two years I have been a commentator on the development of the new regulatory regime. I had hoped we would have seen a more encouraging approach to investment by the Australian Energy Regulator but the signs, to date, are disappointing. What seems such an obvious point to me is that competition is best served by access to choice and that diversity of choice in gas supply is enhanced by maximising the means of getting the gas to the user. When given the option to err in favour of longer-term investment or the illusory short-term benefit to consumers of reducing returns to industry, regulatory decision makers focus on immediate benefits to consumers. We might expect our politicians to have a short-term focus, but policy makers should be able to focus on the long-term and encourage investment in infrastructure.

That said, the industry has continued to see substantial pipeline developments in most states in response to the (fully contracted) needs of the market.

The important Pipeline Engineer Training development program has continued, with Phase 1 – the development of key competencies, due to be completed early in 2010. It is likely that this work, project managed by Chris Harvey with the support of many of our members, will ultimately dovetail with training initiatives to be developed by the EPCRC.

Looking at last year’s President’s Message I note that the Short Term Trading Market (STTM) and the Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO) were evolving. Fortunately, due to the continued efforts of the Regulatory and Economic Policy Committee, common sense outcomes have been achieved as far as possible. This is time-consuming and nitpicking work, and I would like to thank the members of this and all APIA committees for their efforts. Thanks also go to their respective companies that have allowed the necessary resources to address the many issues. I would specifically like to recognise the hard work and incisiveness of Steve Livens of Epic Energy, who has been an active member of the Gas Market Leaders Group (GMLG) since its inception.

It has been interesting, at times exciting and tiring, but certainly an honour and a privilege to be the President of this vibrant professional association. This industry is made up of a marvellous group of individuals and companies who work together professionally to make this association unique in the world for its cohesiveness and interaction. I wish to expressly thank all of the APIA Secretariat Cheryl Cartwright, Steve Dobbie, Gisela Thaurer, Steve Davies and Jacqui Yates – for their support and the professional service they provide to all of us above and beyond the call.

Make sure you visit the exhibition hall during the Convention. Our exhibitors provide the most up to date and pertinent information on services, equipment and materials for our industry. Whether at the business session or any of the evening functions, I look forward to seeing you there Enjoy!

Ashley Kellett


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