The theme of the seminar was “Pipeline Practices & Emergency Management” and a range of speakers discussed management of the interface between transmission and distribution operations, specific issues facing transmission pipelines in urban areas, the role of asset owners, asset managers and service providers in emergency situations.
Kevin Pettit, Operations Officer with the Victorian Country Fire Authority discussed key principles in designing effective emergency management arrangements including incident management systems, communications and tips for incident management. He outlined the following key elements of emergency management - Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery. He emphasised the importance of incidents having only one controller who has the responsibility and organisational support to ensure effective command control and coordination in emergency situations. He discussed the importance of effective communication which can only be facilitated once the needs of the people you are communicating with are understood. He also said that the effort required to understand and address stakeholder needs should not be underestimated, as there are internal and external stakeholders whose needs should be analysed prior to the event.
Michael Lehner, Acting General Manager with Origin Energy Asset Management, discussed the management of the transmission/distribution interface in an emergency. He outlined the importance of community, government and gas industry cooperation and the need to maintain network integrity during an emergency. Key objectives include maintaining supply to essential services embedded in distribution systems and to ensure a rapid recovery once gas supply is reinstated. He discussed the importance of having a well understood sequence for customer shutdown and the need for the industry to be able to respond to a wide range of requests from domestic (i.e. residential) customers. He used the 1998 Longford incident to reinforce the importance of a rapid customer response. Research conducted on Day 5 of the Longford incident indicated that:
- 96 per cent of people had turned off;
- 44 per cent had turned off voluntarily on Days 1 & 2;
- 23 per cent believed media coverage was totally adequate; and,
- 91 per cent rated media coverage adequate or totally adequate.
Mukesh Bhatia, Principal Engineer Pipelines with GasNet Australia, reinforced the importance of GasNet’s strategy to address two key issues – third party activities and corrosion on pipelines. GasNet has a well documented emergency management plan which complies with Section 4 of AS2885.3. The response system mobilises up to three different teams to respond to different levels of emergency i.e. site team, emergency response team and emergency management team. In order to assess the effectiveness of emergency response preparedness, GasNet conducts desktop and field exercises at regular intervals in consultation with other industry players. This is followed by a debrief to assess the effectiveness of the response and lessons learnt for the future.
Mike Lyle, Field Manager with Alinta’s Eastern Gas Pipeline, outlined the relative responsibilities of key personnel involved in emergency responses and the importance of having adequate back-up resources. He also discussed the importance of having emergency response equipment available and discussed the systems used by Duke Energy International to achieve this goal.
Peter Bowden, Asset Operations Manager with Agility discussed changes in emergency management with segmentation of the industry and the key roles played by OHS&E Management, response planning, response delivery, human resource planning and recovery implementation. He discussed the joint training facility established by Agility and Duke Energy which is capable of covering excavation assessment, coating repairs, different repair methods, hot tap and stopple, easement maintenance, welding training and assessments, defect assessment and pipeline pigging.
Stephen Dykes discussed and analysed changes which had occurred in the industry and the consequences of a model based on pipeline owners, asset managers and service providers. He emphasised the importance, notwithstanding the changes that have taken place in this industry, to:
- Sustain the expertise to complement the risk management process fully;
- Continue to train and mentor participants to have a deep understanding of the risk management process;
- To understand the present AS2885 Standard so we can continue to develop it to benefit the times; and,
- To comply with the industry standard in all respects.
Stephen emphasised that the industry’s failure to meet its obligations would result in regulators reverting to a prescriptive regime with all its attendant costs.
Colin Symonds, Manager WAG Pipelines, discussed high pressure oil pipelines and emergency management. He outlined potential financial repercussions of pipeline incidents which can extend well beyond the relatively small cost of repair. Downtime, rehabilitation to prove integrity to authorities, penalties and damage to reputation had all emerged as issues in overseas incidents. He indicated that dents with gouges were an underrated serious threat to the integrity of high pressure pipelines that cannot wait for the development of future inspection tools. Third party damage must be inspected prior to backfill and awareness programs should include this threat.
James Smith, Manager Maintenance WA with Epic Energy discussed Epic Energy’s recent experiences with facilities emergency management.
Papers from the Seminar are available on the APIA Members Only website.