While some pipeline operating companies fiercely compete at a commercial level, one thing they all agree on is the need to continually focus on the safe and efficient operation of our energy pipelines.
The Pipeline Operators Group was formed in 1977 to combine the resources of operating companies in regard to safe pipeline design and operation. Two decades later, POG is an APGA Committee, and it retains the primary objective of better industry and public safety, and more efficient pipeline operations. Today, there are around 20 member organisations from across Australia and New Zealand.
While commercial issues are ‘left at the door’, POG members share real-world experiences of government regulation, safety and environmental concerns, equipment performance, even people issues associated with working in remote locations.
In cooperation with the APGA Secretariat, POG also hosts an Annual Seminar with speakers covering issues of interest to members. POG also has a dedicated session at the APGA Annual Convention and a full-day meeting held on the day after the Convention.
Key priorities for POG include its line-by-line review of changes to the Australian Standard 2885 and its management of the Pipeline Incident Database – a record of incidents in which pipelines have been damaged or threatened, which operators have been compiling since the 1970s.
Conclusions drawn from the data may be used for a variety of purposes such as identifying key vulnerabilities, identifying the most effective pipe protection measures, demonstrating to regulators and other stakeholders that pipeline transportation is safe, and providing a basis for future revisions of AS 2885.
Despite the length of pipelines around Australia and New Zealand tripling between 1985 and 2010, the incidents causing damage to pipelines dropped by almost two-thirds during this period. There has also never been a death or injury recorded in connected with damage to a pipeline in Australia. Clearly, the Australian pipeline industry has a much better operational safety record than those of Europe and North America. 
Pipeline incident data is of growing interest around the world – the International Gas Union is seeking to harmonise disparate data from different countries and regions. In due course the APGA incident database will be Australia’s contribution to this work.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02 6273 0577
 Tuft, P and Bonar, C, Experience With The Pipeline Incident Database, APGA Convention 2009, p4
 Ibid p7
 Ibid p10