Welcome to the third edition of ceNEWS for 2020

April 2020

Just we were about to push the Publish button, the National Coordination Mechanism has made a welcome recommendation about the energy supply chain. Find out more.

The message from CEO Steve Davies is now available on video and it's less than three minutes long.

You can see it by clicking on this link. If you'd prefer to read the words, they are below. The content is not guaranteed to be the same. Give the video a try. And while you're there, leave a comment or like the video. Steve likes the feedback!

Message from the CEO

Well, I don’t think the association’s world has ever changed as much as it has since my March update. I am sure we are all feeling the same about our own lives. No doubt you have all been highly flexible and adaptable as you contemplate the next few months for your business and our industry.

We have been talking to many members about the difference between essential and non-essential services. Both terms have been used a lot by governments in the past 10 days (first mention of shutting down non-essential services was only on Sunday 22 March). As we can see now, all governments are very keen to keep as much business operating as possible. Any business that can keep operating within the spatial distancing requirements is encouraged to do so. What governments should have said is the shutdowns would apply to non-essential retail and service industry businesses that bring a lot of people together. In any event, we all are experts with the benefit of hindsight and in this fast-paced environment we do need to be patient with each other.

That said, the restrictions on interstate travel will be lifted only for ‘essential’ workers. Clearly, businesses across the energy supply chain will have the ability to fit this description. We are working with the Federal Government on these definitions and a consistent national approach. I would like to thank all of you who provided information to this exercise, the depth and breadth of skills and expertise in this industry is truly impressive.

We have been very busy at the secretariat. With news and restrictions changing every 48-72 hours over the past week, we have found it is important not to react to every new piece of information. I am hopeful things will settle down, from a changing operating environment perspective, and we can all get used to the new normal. This week we have gone to full remote working for the foreseeable future and we are finding a daily meeting via zoom is a great way to keep connected.

We have cancelled all our face-to-face events to the end of June. As you will see in the news below, cancelling these events has not led to less work for us. The team has done an amazing job of pulling together a variety of services that can be delivered virtually. Our committee meetings always facilitate remote participation so no big changes to standard operating procedure there. For our technical seminars, we have adapted our existing webinar program to deliver virtually the same content. Replacing our networking events is not so straight forward. We are giving it a go though and Tony and I are keen to see how our virtual catch-up with members goes next week. We will definitely deliver more of these, at least as regularly as our normal event schedule, and we are also aware we need to do one in a WA friendly timeslot!

There will very likely be more frequent updates than we usually do while the environment is still changing. We are very mindful of not over-communicating at the moment, I am sure all your inboxes are filling up with a lot of new information. If there is anything you need from us that you are not seeing, please drop us an email and the right person will get in touch with you ASAP.

All the best and we hope to see you on Wednesday 8 April!

#PositivePipeliners

We’re using our Facebook page to spread some joy in these difficult times. We’ve decided to try to bring some brightness to everyone’s lives as they beaver away in their hastily flung together home offices by sharing what makes us happy. Have you seen something that made you smile or laugh in recent times or do you have some hints, coping strategies or positive thoughts you want to share? Then please share them with us on Facebook with the hashtag #PositivePipeliners.

New events

APGA is developing new events in response to the limits on gatherings of people due to COVID-19.  We know that our members find APGA events and the networking and technical update opportunities they provide of great benefit to their business. And of course, it’s always great to catch up with colleagues. So, we’re looking at ways to provide that same value to members while remaining physically distant. Our first two new events are listed below. There will be a few more coming, so keep a look out for them here and in your email.

POG Webinar Series 2020

One of the first APGA events to be cancelled was the annual Pipeline Operators Group (POG) seminar that was scheduled for Thursday 2 April. The importance of the information shared by the POG presenters has been regularly recognised by APGA members, so it was decided to organise the presentations through a Zoom webinar in a five-week series starting on Wednesday 22 April. Each week, two of the original POG seminar presentations will be presented via Zoom, and these will provide participants with the opportunity to ask questions to the presenters during the course of the presentation. Our thanks to series sponsors Denso and Rosen. View full details of the series schedule and how to register.

APGA President and CEO virtual catch-up and after work drinks

No need to be socially distant while staying away from the office. The first of the new-style APGA events will take place on Wednesday 7 April when APGA President Tony O’Sullivan and CEO Steve Davies will hold a catchup with members topped off with a virtual after-work drinks.

Join Tony and Steve to hear about the latest developments for the association and what may lie ahead in the short, medium and longer term. You’ll be able to ask questions and participate in other ways. Following on from the more formal session, Business Manager Steve Dobbie will join Tony and Steve for a well-earned after-work drink and a chat, and they hope you’ll join them too. You can have a coffee, a beer or a glass of wine or just let your drink be a bunch of electrons, but don’t miss this fun event where you can glean some inside information as well as, with luck, a spot of gossip. Register now.

Women’s Leadership Development Program

Due to very high demand, we are holding a second APGA Women’s Leadership Development Program in 2020.

The second cohort program will take place from April to November.

APGA's Women’s Leadership Development Program was developed specifically for women in the energy industry. This program, modelled on similar programs from around the world, is designed to provide women in our industry with the opportunity to network and develop skills that will enable their continued success in the pipeline and gas industries. The program will once again be conducted by Gretchen Gagel of Greatness Consulting, who has designed and delivered an equivalent program for the American Gas Association. Find out more and register now.

APGA Surveys

A new channel is now available for member feedback. We have launched APGA Surveys which will aim to ascertain members opinions on a range of topics. This month there are three questions related to working from home. The survey is available here: This survey will be open until Wednesday 15 April.. Access to our surveys will be via the home page quick links and a link in the Publications drop-down menu. We plan to run one a month, but if we have more questions, we maty publish them more frequently. We’ll do our best to incorporate the results of our surveys in future planning. Survey results will be published on the surveys page. If you have a question you think members would like a say on, send it to Karen Polglaze.

Better Together Initiative

APGA together with a number of Energy Charter signatories is coordinating a series of #Better Together Workshops to better understand the information needs of gas pipeline customers to enable informed decision making in negotiations. These will now be held in an online format. The Energy Charter is a commitment from energy companies to putting customers at the centre of their business.

To encourage open discussion these customer-led workshops will be run by an independent facilitator: Trina Skidmore from Innerchoices.

The key outcomes sought from the workshop discussions are

  •       To understand pipeline customer information needs and how information aids them in commercial negotiations.
  •       To recognise where the current information works, doesn’t work and what is missing.
  •       To create a solid foundation for gap analysis and development of improved pipeline information reporting.

The focus will be pipelines listening to the views of stakeholders in an open discussion to get a better understanding of what the needs of shippers are. The focus of subsequent workshops will be working with customers to develop solutions in response to the needs identified.

The workshop will now be conducted as a series of separate, smaller group sessions on 28-30 April.

Gas and energy policy

Even though we are all operating in an environment that has become much more complicated in recent weeks, developments on the BAU policy front haven’t slowed down in the slightest. On 24 March the COAG Energy Council released the Decision RIS on Measures to Improve Transparency in the Gas Market.  This is not to be confused with the all-important Measures to Improve Gas Pipeline Regulation RIS - the COAG Energy Council is still considering the public submissions lodged in January. A decision RIS for this is not due until the second half of the year.

The key highlight in the current Transparency Measures Decision RIS is a decision to require entities developing infrastructure (incl. pipelines) to report on ‘proposed’ developments as well as ‘committed’ developments.  A requirement to report on ‘committed’ is not a major concern for gas pipelines, but a requirement to report ‘proposed’ developments is something APGA and others argued against strongly in submissions. The mandatory disclosure of information relating to potential pipeline infrastructure developments prior to their receiving final investment decision (FID) to proceed (and with a proponent having been appointed) is problematic. Our main concern is that reporting information on proposed infrastructure developments in these circumstances will only serve to create market noise and additional uncertainty in the gas market. The information is subject to change at any time – companies can and do decide against proceeding with new proposals at any point in the development process – and is therefore unreliable. In addition:

  •          The unreliability of this information is compounded by likelihood that multiple companies in the competitive gas pipeline sector will be considering a potential new pipeline route simultaneously.

  •          For example, there is currently a lot of activity around potential new pipelines to open up or further develop the Beetaloo, Galilee and Bowen basins. It is unclear which of these would be included as ‘proposed’.

  •          Requiring companies to disclose “proposed” infrastructure developments exposes them to reputational risk and hinders freedom to consider new projects and undertake necessary due diligence before making position public.

The policy process for this and other transparency measures in the Decision RIS has not yet ended. The next step is for government to draft the legislative package to implement the proposed – with a public consultation on a draft legislative package expected in late May/early June. This process provides another opportunity to discuss the details of what exactly is meant by a “proposed” infrastructure development, and APGA will participate fully. We will keep you posted.

Toowoomba and Surat Basin Energy Awards

Nominations for the 2020 Toowoomba and Surat Basin Energy Awards (TSBE) close on 7 April so get your entries in. These inaugural awards will showcase the economic contribution and the positive impact the gas and energy sector has made to the Surat Basin region. The awards will be recognising and rewarding the contribution that the producers of energy provide to our regional economy, as well as to recognise and reward the leaders across a range of award categories.

Businesses are encouraged to nominate organisations and individuals for this major award event, with the event designed to enhance collaboration of industry, benchmark best practice for the region and honour all nominees in a professional but social environment.  There are 13 categories that can be entered, including Export, Innovation, Leadership, Community, Safety, STEM, Co-Existence, Environmental, Health and Wellness, Apprenticeship and Training, Local Content, Indigenous Achievement and the Industry Legacy Award. The award ceremony will on be April 30 at the Dalby Events Centre. Nominations close on 7 April. Find out more.

AS 2885.5 open for comment

AS 2885.5 – Pipelines – Gas and Liquid Petroleum – Field Pressure Testing is open for public comment until 23 April. The draft can be downloaded here. Please note that comments must be submitted via the Standards Australia website or they will not be considered.

Committee news

Research and Standards Committee

The RSC held a very successful meeting in Melbourne on Thursday 5 March, just before the travel bans. Hopefully this won’t be the last face-to-face meeting for 2020. The two remaining RSC meetings for 2020 are scheduled to be held in Sydney on Thursday 11 June and in Adelaide on Thursday 12 November. Further information on the June meeting will be provided to RSC committee members.       

PCC Forum

APGA is hosting the Third Pipeline Corridor (Land-Use Change) Forum on Tuesday 5 May. The aim is to bring pipeline owner/operators and technical regulators, planning authorities, planning consultants, state government officials and developers together to discuss topics relating to corridor encroachment management, including engagement with planning authorities and developers and the expectations of regulators. The face-to-face event originally scheduled will now take place in two 90-minute sessions online on the same day, complete with PowerPoint presentations, interactive Q&A and a concluding ‘panel session’, we can still host this important event with an interesting and interactive format as intended.

Each agenda item will start with one or more expert presentation(s), followed by group discussion. Forum Agenda topics will include:

  •           Managing Encroachment: best practice and outcomes

  •          Case Studies: State/Territory Legislative Changes

  •          Licensee Code Compliance: expectations of technical regulators

  •          Engagement with Planning Authorities: recommended best practice

  •          Engagement with Developers: achieving win-win outcomes

Further information will be posted on the APGA website in due course.

Pipeline Operators Group (POG)

As members would be aware, the face-to-face meeting of the APGA Pipeline Operators Group scheduled for Wednesday 1 April has been changed to a Zoom web conference. The shortened meeting will focus on how POG members are dealing with and managing the operations and maintenance activities of our owner/operators. The usual annual POG seminar has also been modified and will be held as a series of Zoom web conferences as outlined earlier in this edition of ceNEWS. The first in the series of presentations will be held at 2.00pm AEST on Wednesday 22 April and will be held every subsequent Wednesday until 20 May. See the details.

YPF

The National Committee of the YPF will meet on Tuesday 7 April for its second meeting of 2020. As YPF in-person events have now been cancelled, the Committee will be looking at alternative event options to keep up engagement among the young pipeliner community. Watch this space!

The Young Pipeliners International held its first meeting for 2020 by video conference on 26 March. It was a great success and participants found the format very engaging. The meeting provided an insight into the way young pipeliner groups in other parts of the world operate and the YPF representatives came away with a lot of ideas to discuss at the next National Committee meeting of the YPF.

If you would like to subscribe to the YPF mailing list in your State, visit the YPF page.

Events

APGA 2020 Annual Convention and Exhibition

Despite the uncertainty surrounding gatherings of people in the coming months, APGA is moving ahead with planning for the 2020 APGA Convention and Exhibition. We recognise that measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 may yet have an impact. Noting that it is still more than six months until the event, and taking account of the many expert views which suggest that the physical distancing and other limitations may be removed within that timeframe, we have decided that the wisest course for us is to prepare for this excellent and unique event to go ahead and make any other decision only when required.

We are all quietly hoping that this year’s APGA Annual Convention and Exhibition will be a welcome opportunity to revive face-to-face relationships for our members.

Our preparations are under constant review, and we will keep you advised of any developments in our plans.

All of our sponsors and exhibitors have been contacted separately in the past week as we recognise the difficulty that they may have in making decisions months ahead in these uncertain times. To assist them in this regard, we have decided to delay any financial commitment from these companies to the latest point that we can.

If you need any further information about this year’s event, please talk to APGA Business Manager Steve Dobbie.

Upcoming events

Unfortunately, all of the regular face-to-face APGA networking and technical events have now been cancelled through until the end of June 2020. Some of these events are being replaced by Zoom web conferences but nothing will ever replace the benefits achieved through face-to-face networking and communication between our members and their clients. Rest assured, that we will be seeking to reintroduce our regular events as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

APGA Networking events

The final face-to-face APGA dinner before the COVID-19 shutdown took hold was the Melbourne dinner held at the Pullman on the Park on 5 March. The event was extremely well-attended by almost 240 people who heard APGA Director and APA’s Group Executive, Infrastructure Development Kevin Lester provide an interesting and positive presentation on APA Group’s major Victorian projects in development. Our sponsors were CNC Project Management and McConnell Dowell and the night provided lots of laughs among our members.

The dinner followed the inaugural APGA Committee update when we gathered the Chairs of APGA’s Committees to provide an update on recent activities and an overview of priorities for the year ahead. The feedback from our attendees was extremely positive so this forum will feature again each year.

Other events

Please note: these events remain scheduled at the date of publication. Please check directly with event organisers for the latest information.

The Australian Gas Industry Trust is going ahead with planning for the three-day Gas Speak Colloquium 2020, scheduled to be held in Canberra from 31 August to 2 September. A one-day Executive Training course is being trialled and is scheduled to be held on 1 September. We are monitoring the situation regarding limits on gatherings of people and will provide updates as we learn more.