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Foreword by Martin Ferguson, Federal Minister for Resources and Energy & Minister for Tourism

Pipelines are critical to sustaining Australian economic and social development.

Approximately 33,000 km of high-pressure pipelines are currently in place nationwide, including more than 25,000 km dedicated to natural gas transmission, with about $5 billion invested in new or expanded pipelines in the last decade alone.

A major factor underpinning pipeline development here and abroad is the increasing popularity of natural gas. The International Energy Agency’s recent World Energy Outlook and Golden Age of Gas reports both pointed to demand approaching or exceeding that of coal by 2035.

Australia is now the third-largest LNG exporter in the Asia-Pacific region and the fourth largest in the world, exporting 20 million tonnes of LNG worth $10.4 billion in 2010–11, with exports forecast to grow by a further 19 per cent in 2012–13 as production from Western Australia’s Pluto facility ramps up.

Based on proposed and committed projects, our capacity could quadruple by 2017, potentially making us the world’s largest LNG producer.

The opportunities for Australia’s pipeline industry created through the development of our abundant gas resources are self-evident. A typical coal seam gas-LNG project requires around 550 km of major transmission pipeline, which in turn can be supported by an additional 4,000 km of feeder lines.

Providing adequate infrastructure is a key factor in maintaining economic growth. The Australian, state and territory governments must therefore collaborate with industry members across the country to ensure that adequate capacity is developed.

This includes working through programs like the Regional Infrastructure Fund, National Ports Strategy and National Land Freight Strategy.

The Australian Government is contributing to the Energy Pipelines Cooperative Research Centre to undertake research and education relevant to the pipeline industry in Australia.

We have committed to providing $17.5 million over ten years to create the technology necessary to achieve four main aims:

  • Extending the safe operating life of our ageing natural gas transmission network and avoiding the need for replacement;
  • Building the new pipeline networks necessary to support increased demand for natural gas;
  • Building pipeline networks to enable transmission of new energy cycle fluids such as hydrogen and carbon dioxide; and,
  • Preventing pipeline failures that could lead to costs and harm.

This research investment is already delivering results.

For example, this year Standards Australia released the first extension of the Australian pipeline standards to now also cover carbon dioxide pipelines.

The growth in demand for conventional and unconventional gas resources has created an important future role for the Australian pipeline industry.

The Australian Pipeline Industry Association provides the vital link between producers and consumers of these resources. This means you ultimately contribute to achieving Australia’s energy security and economic and social development.

I look forward to working toward these goals with the pipeline industry now and into the future.

Martin Ferguson AM MP
Federal Minister for Resources and Energy

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