In­dus­try col­lab­o­ra­tion re­quired

Business First - - NEWS -

Ac­cord­ing to a group of sec­tor lead­ers, Aus­tralia’s oil and gas in­dus­try must fix its sights on de­vel­op­ing greater col­lab­o­ra­tion as it brings a range of mega projects into oper­a­tion.

The need for oil and com­pa­nies to be­come more co­or­di­nated was a hot topic at the DNV GL event, which in­volved more than 30 in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives talk­ing un­der Chatham House rule. This as­ser­tion was sparked partly by me­dia at­ten­tion in Fe­bru­ary 2014 on the con­struc­tion of three gi­ant LNG plants side by side on Cur­tis Is­land in Glad­stone, Queens­land, re­sult­ing in bil­lions of dol­lars of du­pli­cated in­vest­ment. Sim­i­lar over­laps have been flagged else­where.

“The Aus­tralian oil and gas in­dus­try is sim­ply not col­lab­o­rat­ing enough. Oper­a­tors and sup­pli­ers across the coun­try would ben­e­fit greatly by shar­ing best prac­tice and the lessons they have learnt in a struc­tured fo­rum. We are do­ing a lot of things for the first time here. We should be shar­ing our ex­pe­ri­ences,” said a board mem­ber of an off­shore ser­vices com­pany dur­ing the dis­cus­sions at the DNV GL-hosted event.

An­other par­tic­i­pant in the round­table dis­cus­sions com­mented that com­pa­nies in Aus­tralia seem to have an is­sue with work­ing to­gether, which doesn’t make sense con­sid­er­ing that the ma­jor­ity of the coun­try’s ma­jor projects are be­ing de­vel­oped by joint ven­tures.

Richard Palmer, re­gional man­ager, DNV GL Oil & Gas - Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Pa­pua New Guinea, said “If we want to main­tain se­cu­rity of en­ergy sup­ply, our in­dus­try has to set our sights on work­ing in deeper and harsher con­di­tions, and keep push­ing the bound­aries of safety, re­li­a­bil­ity and per­for­mance in our projects and op­er­a­tions. In­dus­try col­lab­o­ra­tion will be cen­tral to achiev­ing that.”

Some se­nior lead­ers at the DNV GL’s round­table dis­cus­sions agreed that the govern­ment also has a role to play in help­ing Aus­tralia’s oil and gas in­dus­try to work to­gether more ef­fec­tively. “The govern­ment fines oper­a­tors who don’t in­vest in in­no­va­tion. This doesn’t en­cour­age a long-term view on col­lab­o­ra­tion. We need the govern­ment to fa­cil­i­tate us work­ing to­gether, not force us,” said a se­nior safety man­ager for an Aus­tralian mega project.

Other con­trib­u­tors sug­gested that com­pa­nies should do more to fos­ter in­ter­nal col­lab­o­ra­tion be­fore they ad­dress the ap­proach of cross-in­dus­try work­ing. “The or­gan­i­sa­tional set-up of the big­ger oil and gas com­pa­nies is ex­tremely com­plex. I some­times get the feel­ing that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is do­ing with some oper­a­tors, and that is an is­sue that needs to be ad­dressed prop­erly if we are ever go­ing to col­lab­o­rate ef­fec­tively as an en­tire in­dus­try,” dis­closed a se­nior man­ager for an in­ter­na­tional oil com­pany.

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