The APIA Convention is approaching quickly, as it has been brought forward to 11-14 September 2010 in order to miss the onset of the wet season in Darwin. Hopefully you have your registration forms in, as accommodation in Darwin can get booked out. The business program at the Convention includes essential updates for all involved in the pipeline industry, covering topics such as the environment, engineering and construction, through to operations and commercial. The theme for the Convention this year is “˜Local Expertise; International Influence’. Not surprisingly, there are several papers on the growing coal seam gas (CSG) sector which identify the significant opportunities for the pipeline industry to participate in this growth.
Those who attended the May APIA Seminar in Brisbane learnt from Paul Balfe that CSG exploration programs in Queensland and New South Wales are just shy of demonstrating sufficient
2P gas reserves to support six major LNG trains in Gladstone, and already have
sufficient 3P reserves for 10 LNG trains with a capacity of around 4 MMt/a each. Significant concerns have been raised regarding the impact of the Federal Government’s proposed Resource Super Profits Tax, however we are seeing encouraging signs that the Government is seriously engaging with industry to listen to our concerns. I sincerely hope that this process results in legislation that will not jeopardise the development of the CSG export industry, as well as the domestic gas industry.
The May seminar also heard a very timely presentation from Mark Harper on the importance of community relations in regard to successful CSG projects. There is no doubt that the CSG industry will have a broad footprint across large areas of the Surat and other basins proposed for development. This results in the landowners and communities in these regions being key stakeholders in the development. The underlying message in Mark’s presentation was that community relations is critical to the success of a project, and needs to be a priority from the start to the end of the project. We need to appoint community relations experts to get the right plans in place, but all involved in the industry have a role to play in ensuring that the correct information is communicated early to all stakeholders.
The Queensland Co-ordinator General Colin Jensen addressed the APIA Dinner after the Brisbane Seminar. He hinted that his recommendations for approving two of the four proposed major CSG developments were imminent. Within a week of the seminar, we did see his conditions of approval released for the Santos/Petronas GLNG Project. Mr Jensen also stated that he did not expect all four LNG plants on Curtis Island to initially proceed, and that some consolidation is likely in the future. However this unfolds, the pipeline industry is well placed to grow and play a major role in these developments. Already, we are seeing a large proportion of pipeliners in Brisbane working very hard and putting in long hours to support these projects. It is certainly a very tense time as major bids are prepared, evaluated and awarded.
As new people enter the pipeline industry and companies not experienced in Australian conditions become involved, the importance of APIA’s initiatives in pipeline engineering training, the development of a CSG Code of Practice, and the APIA Research and Standards Committee (RSC) become increasingly important to assist with delivering these projects in a safe and efficient manner. The Energy Pipelines Co-operative Research Centre (EPCRC) was officially launched on
8 June 2010 in Wollongong. The EPCRC is supported by substantial government funding, paving the way for a major step up in the amount of research to support engineering, constructing and operating pipelines in Australia efficiently and safely. The research is structured to be directly applied to the industry. If your company is not an RSC member then you will not have access to the results of the research. The benefits of membership are substantial and I encourage you to become involved.