CEO Message October 2021

 

Despite all the changes we have experienced in 2020 and 2021, some things never change and I think that one of those is how the beginning of October sharpens the mind toward what has to be done by the end of the year.

In our conversations with members, we are hearing the same thing throughout the industry and, in our policy work, several government processes have a new urgency about them to ensure they finish in December.

Of course, for APGA, October also brings the Annual Convention and Exhibition. Next week, the Virtual Convention will kick off and I am definitely feeling the convention excitement myself. The Virtual Convention has a lot to offer everyone and I am looking forward to learning about the latest developments in safety, hydrogen and CCS for the industry. On Monday, we will hear directly from the Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor as well as from key industry leaders including Rob Wheals and Ben Wilson. Delegate registrations are well over 400 and I’d like to thank everyone for making the effort – it will be well worth it. I’d also like to remind you daylight saving has begun in many States and the program times are AEDT. This time of year always catches people out, myself included, so please make sure you have the adjusted times in your calendar. For those who haven’t registered, there is still time to do so. Register here.

APGA Annual Awards at the Convention

I am also really looking forward to the presentation of APGA’s Annual Awards. We are fortunate to have so many great contributors to our industry and this is one of the only times in the year where we take the time to celebrate the contributions of key individuals and the successes of members in the critical areas of safety, environment and diversity. This year, we are also awarding the inaugural APGA Innovation Award which will be voted on directly by delegates after a series of presentations. The award is open to exhibitors and I am very pleased we are highlighting the importance and breadth of innovation in our industry – our future depends on continuous innovation to improve existing operations and introduce the technologies that will enable the gas industry to decarbonise through future fuels and carbon capture and storage.

Gas prices in Europe

There has been interesting news out of the UK and Europe in the past week or two as gas prices surge ahead of the usual winter peak demand. There are several causes of the price increase, with each contributing in its own way. It is clear that both increased use of gas in power generation to back up renewables and an under-investment in natural gas arising from investor climate concerns are two of the contributing factors. It is foreseeable that both of these factors could contribute to energy market dynamics in Australia in the near future, perhaps as early as this summer if it is a hot one.

Economic regulation

A key factor that could influence future gas infrastructure investment is economic regulation and APGA is working with governments as they finalise a legislative package to strengthen economic regulation of the gas pipeline industry. There is a real mismatch between the desire of governments to get more investment in gas to address supply issues and the increased regulatory intervention they are implementing which will make gas infrastructure projects riskier for investors. We are working closely with owners on our response and are producing a package of amendments to present to government by the end of the month to address key issues. If governments don’t get this right, we will see less pipeline investment than we need to maintain crucial gas supplies in the years ahead which, as we see in Europe right now, will have bigger consequences.

It's almost Christmas

Before we know it, the Christmas season will be on us. With the lockdown States starting to open up in the coming weeks, we are hopeful of holding Christmas events in all our usual locations. It remains to be seen how we go and which of them people will be able to travel too, but we are looking forward to the beginning of interstate travel, face-to-face meetings and events with members. In the meantime, see you virtually next week!

All the best,