As President, I plan to make myself as accessible as possible to members and to maintain the excellent working relationship between the APIA Board and our professional Secretariat.
I would like to acknowledge past President Mark Harper for his stewardship of the Association over the last two years and, in particular, his contribution in building further upon the governance and risk processes that we as a corporate entity must have. Two Directors have retired and I would like to acknowledge the enthusiastic contribution of Alan Freer (Epic Energy) and to thank and acknowledge Max Kimber AM, past-Chair of the Research & Standards Committee, for his prodigious efforts and his internationally recognised work for the industry over many years. I am delighted to welcome back Mark Twycross and Peter Cox and to thank them for taking on additional responsibilities for the year. A big welcome to new Directors, Steve Banning (Epic Energy), Murray Durham (Apache Energy) and Leigh Fletcher (Welding Pipeline Integrity). As Leigh is also the new Chair of the RSC, our ongoing close relationship with that hard working APIA committee is assured.
As you may be aware, in recognition of the ongoing potential for further corporate consolidation, the Board has increased the number of Directors to ten, one more than the minimum requirement under our Constitution. This will help to minimise the impact of possible changes.
Any member of APIA who could not attend the 2007 Convention missed out on yet another highly successful event. I thought the wide variety of papers reflected our range of interests and were highly topical, the exhibitions were packed with everything you ever wanted to know about anything, the venues worked well and the fancy dress night was hilarious, with outfits getting more innovative every year. If you didn’t get there in 2007, put the Perth Convention in your diary for next October. 2008 is a significant year for APIA – we turn 40 (which is “˜the new 30′ and not middle-aged as some might suggest!).
Congratulations to all of our award winners, Cheryl names them in her report, however, I would be remiss in not also passing on special congratulations to Keith Fitzgerald on becoming our 10th Honorary Life Member.
2007 was a year of activity and firsts; with the highly successful first ever Australian Joint Technical Meeting between our own Research and Standards Committee (RSC), the International Pipeline Research Council (PRCI), based in the US, and the European Pipeline Research Group (EPRG). This international event was closely followed by the convention of the International Pipeline and Offshore Contractors Association (IPLOCA) in Sydney. Andy Lukas, President of IPLOCA in 2007 and a long-standing APIA Director, was instrumental in bringing the convention of this important international organisation to Australia for the first time. Also in 2007, we saw pipeline developments in a number of regions and energy reform legislation finally start to take shape.
So, what lies ahead for 2008? We know there are new pipeline projects this year and that the new National Gas Law will be completed and we will closely monitor its application. No doubt there will be challenges, but all of us who are a little over 40 recognise that by the age of 40 you can cope with most things, and APIA is no exception.
I look forward to 2008 and to meeting as many members as possible at the range of APIA functions throughout the year.