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.
Commercial issues are left at the door so that POG members can 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 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.
- Establishing and managing the Pipeline Incident Database as a strategic management tool for the future of the pipeline industry. In 2013 the Group introduced an online incident reporting system to make it easier and more efficient for members to report incidents.
- Organising Pipeline Controller Forums which brought together control room staff from operating companies to share information about better operations, better use of technology and developing a benchmark for control room operations.
- Establishing a carbon efficiency sub-committee to share ideas on ways to save energy.
- Establishing the Rotating Plant Subcommittee to share ideas on safety, cost-management and power output issues associated with rotating plant. It also provides a further network for operators who experience rotating plant failure to share equipment or spare parts with other companies in an emergency. This is a critical part of maintaining the gas supply chain in an emergency.