While the children and partners took the opportunity to visit the highlights of Outback Australia, such as the Alice Springs Desert Park, Standley Chasm, Ormiston Gorge, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air, and also to see some spectacular Indigenous artworks, the 321 delegates were able to learn about the industry from a range of interesting papers at the Business Sessions.
The Convention kicked off when the Exhibition was opened by local MP, Karl Hampton, on Sunday 15 October. Mr Hampton, who had been elected to parliament in a byelection only a few weeks earlier, was standing in for the Northern Territory Energy Minister who had been called to Darwin at short notice. APIA was honoured to host the new MP’s first official function.
Mr Hampton also delivered the opening Keynote Address on Monday morning, highlighting the importance of the gas transmission industry to the economy of both the Northern Territory and the nation.
Following this, APIA’s President Mark Harper delivered a Welcoming Address, outlining the work undertaken by APIA over the past twelve months and the challenges that changes in the industry will bring. Mr Harper said that APIA is currently in a strong financial position, but that the secretariat and membership will need to be vigilant to ensure this strength is maintained.Article continues below…
He said that as President, he is committed to ensuring the effective and proper operation of the Association. APIA’s Strategic Plan has been completed and is a document that will help to guide the Association through the changes occurring in the industry. The changes will affect APIA’s membership; a restructure of the fee arrangements has already begun, with the Corporate Membership category now recognising the different size of the companies involved in that category, and a review of the Sponsoring and Lead Membership categories over the next 12 months. This will ensure that the fee structure will help the Association to adapt to the changing industry structure. Mr Harper noted the improvements that have been made to the APIA website and congratulated Sarah Leavitt for her work in this area.
APIA’s Regulatory Affairs Committee has been actively involved in the debate on the energy reform legislation, dealing with politicians and officials in order to ensure that the gas transmission industry is not disadvantaged through this process of change. The President assured Convention delegates that APIA is committed to its membership and will continue to pursue ideas and initiatives that will benefit the pipeline industry.
The major project updates that took place during Business Sessions included reports on Coal Seam Gas developments, the expansion of the Dampier-Bunbury Pipeline, the Sydney primary loop project and – appropriately, given the convention was held in Alice Springs – Australian Pipeline Trust’s General Manager Operations, Stephen Ohl, providing an update of developments in the Northern Territory. Grahame Thomsen, Executive Director of the Southern Region Water Pipeline Alliance, described developments in water transportation across Queensland, which was significant given that water transportation is a growing industry with tremendous opportunities for APIA members.
The new Australian Energy Regulator, Steve Edwell, also provided a presentation on the importance and relevance to all APIA members of the new National Gas Law, which is planned for introduction in 2007. He urged APIA to work closely with the Government in the development of the legislation to ensure the best outcome possible for the gas transmission industry.
The technical papers were once again of high quality. Brian Laing, President CRC-Evans Automatic Welding provided a description of the latest developments in automated welding, Dave Langley of BlueScope Steel described technological advancements in steel for pipes, and Mohd Nazmi bin Mohd Ali Napiah and Mohd Nazir bin Mohd Nor from Petronas provided an excellent overview of the Petronas integrity management system. Dennis Neal from Houston, Texas, gave an update on multi-coat systems for pipes, while cultural heritage and the environment management issues were covered by Konrad Litfin and Colin Lane from Leighton Contractors, who highlighted the success of processes undertaken for construction of the Braemar Linepack Connection. This project links the Roma-Brisbane natural gas pipeline at the Condamine Compressor Station to the Braemar Power Station, and was delivered on budget, six weeks ahead of schedule, with no safety, environmental or community-related incidents. Colin Mason of GasNet then described the work on the Brooklyn Lara Pipeline Project and the successful management of land access issues and community issues.
Prominent member of the APIA Young Pipeliners Forum, Megan Lawson, put an international perspective on environmental management, noting the importance of stakeholder engagement and the challenges of dealing with environmental issues in Russia, China and Chad. Former APIA Chief Executive Allen Beasley outlined the challenges for pipeline developments in South East Asia and APIA committee updates were provided by Board Members Mark Twycross from the Safety Committee and Max Kimber from the Research and Standards Committee. As usual, the Pipeline Operators Group’s papers in the POG section of the convention were detailed and informative.
Importantly for APIA, 2007 will see two major international conferences being held in Australia for the first time. The Joint Technical Meeting will be held in Canberra from 16 to 20 April and IPLOCA – the International Pipe Line and Offshore Association – will hold their convention in Australia for the first time in September. Andy Lukas, Managing Director of AJ Lucas Group, APIA Board member, and now also the President of IPLOCA, provided an explanation of the organisation and his plans for its future and Max Kimber outlined the important international work undertaken jointly by researchers from North America (International Pipeline Research Council – PRCI), Europe (European Pipeline Research Group1– EPRG) and APIA’s Research and Standards Committee.
Readers of The Australian Pipeliner are encouraged to visit apia2006.pipepubs.com.au for pictures of the convention. Also, every delegate will receive a CD of the presentations. If you were a delegate and your CD has not yet arrived, call the APIA office on (02) 6273 0577 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (02) 6273 0577 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.