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Cur­rently de­vel­op­ing the $800 mil­lion North­ern Gas Pipe­line link­ing the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and Queens­land, Jemena is fast-be­com­ing one of the coun­try’s lead­ing en­ergy dis­tri­bu­tion net­works. Jemena man­ag­ing direc­tor Paul Adams spoke to El­iz­a­beth Fabri about the com­pany’s plans for the year ahead and his views on how to ad­dress the east coast gas short­age. Q. De­scribe your ed­u­ca­tion and pro­fes­sional back­ground.

My for­mal ed­u­ca­tion is in en­gi­neer­ing (I have a First Class Hon­ours de­gree), and I have also com­pleted post-grad­u­ate stud­ies in fi­nance, man­age­ment, change and gov­er­nance.

My ex­pe­ri­ence (real ed­u­ca­tion) started when I was 16 with a trainee­ship in elec­tri­cal test­ing. I con­tin­ued to learn daily about the elec­tric­ity and gas in­dus­try, hav­ing worked across en­ergy gen­er­a­tion, pro­duc­tion, re­tail­ing, trad­ing, pri­vati­sa­tions, merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions, pipe­lines, net­works, op­er­a­tions and in a range of cor­po­rate roles.

I be­came man­ag­ing direc­tor of Jemena soon af­ter its in­cep­tion in 2008, and I am also chair­man of both Zin­fra and ActewAGL.

Q. What have been some of your big­gest achieve­ments so far at Jemena?

I’m very proud that the team here has been able to keep grow­ing our busi­ness in an en­vi­ron­ment which is con­stantly evolv­ing.

The pace of change in the en­ergy sec­tor has steadily in­creased over the past decade and it’s show­ing no signs of slow­ing down!

So we’ve had to learn to be ag­ile to keep meet­ing the chang­ing en­ergy needs and re­quire­ments of our cus­tomers and the Aus­tralian com­mu­nity as a whole.

Right now the 622km North­ern Gas Pipe­line (NGP) is re­ally ex­cit­ing us – we’ve started work build­ing some­thing which has the po­ten­tial to com­pletely change the na­ture of the east coast gas mar­ket, and dra­mat­i­cally im­prove both gas and elec­tric­ity se­cu­rity of sup­ply and pric­ing through­out eastern Aus­tralia.

Q. Can you pro­vide an up­date on the NGP con­struc­tion?

Phys­i­cal con­struc­tion of the North­ern Gas Pipe­line (NGP) re­cently com­menced and we ex­pect to have the pipe­line com­pleted and first gas flow­ing in late 2018.

In late July, we shipped all of the ap­prox­i­mately 34,000 lengths of pipe re­quired to build the NGP to our Ten­nant Creek pipe stock­yard, and work is un­der­way on the con­struc­tion of the pipe­line as well as the Phillip Creek and Mt Isa Com­pres­sor Sta­tions – both of which we ex­pect to com­plete in 2017.

Our NT con­trac­tors McCon­nell Dow­ell are aim­ing to build about 200km of the pipe­line this year and, to­gether with our Queens­land con­trac­tor, Spieca­pag, should com­plete the pipe­line by the end of win­ter 2018.

Af­ter test­ing and com­mis­sion­ing, we be­lieve the first gas will flow to Mt Isa late in 2018.

Pleas­ingly, of the 900 jobs this project will cre­ate, more than 600 will go to lo­cals, and we have al­ready trained or em­ployed al­most 100 Indige­nous work­ers.

Q. In May, Jemena an­nounced it had en­tered an agree­ment to ac­quire Ori­gin En­ergy’s Dar­ling Downs pipe­line net­work. What is the sig­nif­i­cance of this project?

The North­ern Gas Pipe­line and the Dar­ling Downs Pipe­line Sys­tem (DDPS) are both key parts of our North­ern Growth Strat­egy, in which we are seek­ing to de­velop an in­ter­con­nected sup­ply chain of gas trans­mis­sion as­sets across north­ern Aus­tralia, through tar­geted ac­qui­si­tions and green­field de­vel­op­ments.

Our North­ern Growth Strat­egy is fo­cused on pro­vid­ing a long-term so­lu­tion to the cur­rent east-coast gas sup­ply cri­sis, which will also help to lower gas prices for Aus­tralian cus­tomers. Right now we are in­te­grat­ing the DDPS into our port­fo­lio of gas trans­mis­sion as­sets which in­cludes the Eastern, Queens­land, and North­ern Gas Pipe­lines.

We ex­pect this tran­si­tion pe­riod will be com­plete by the end of Oc­to­ber, and east coast gas cus­tomers will soon be­gin to see the ben­e­fit of greater com­pe­ti­tion in gas mid­stream ser­vices in the re­gion.

Q. What’s next for Jemena?

A po­ten­tial ex­pan­sion and ex­ten­sion of the NGP to the Wal­lum­billa Gas Hub would be ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing more than 700 TJ of gas per day to the east-coast mar­ket and could play a sig­nif­i­cant role in re­solv­ing the east-coast gas sup­ply short­age.

This ex­ten­sion could also bring cur­rently un­de­vel­oped gas re­serves in Queens­land’s Galilee Basin to mar­ket as well.

Be­yond gas pipe­lines, we are fo­cused on in­no­va­tion in our elec­tric­ity and gas dis­tri­bu­tion busi­nesses in or­der to cap­i­tal­ize on the mas­sive tech­nol­ogy shifts that are now gath­er­ing speed, so that we can de­liver the greater em­pow­er­ment and lower emis­sions that our cus­tomers ex­pect.

For ex­am­ple, we’re en­hanc­ing our knowl­edge and ca­pa­bil­i­ties in man­ag­ing dis­trib­uted elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion; while on the gas side we’re em­bark­ing on a ma­jor project to trial the integration of sur­plus re­new­able en­ergy into gas pipe­lines as a re­new­able, car­bon-free gas for stor­age and dis­tri­bu­tion by us­ing Power-to-Gas (P2G) tech­nol­ogy.

Q. What are your views on the loom­ing east coast gas short­age; do you think cur­rent mea­sures in place will be enough to se­cure do­mes­tic sup­ply?

Our view is very clear. The bevy of reg­u­la­tory con­trols in­tro­duced will not get to the heart of the is­sue. There needs to be new gas brought into the mar­ket to de­liver a sig­nif­i­cant down­ward shift in east coast gas and elec­tric­ity prices.

For­tu­nately Aus­tralia is blessed with sig­nif­i­cant fur­ther re­sources of gas, and most of it is in north­ern Aus­tralia.

The North­ern Ter­ri­tory has ex­ist­ing gas fields which are a log­i­cal source of new gas for the eastern states net­work.

In par­tic­u­lar, the Bee­taloo basin be­tween Dar­win and Ten­nant Creek looks to hold enough gas to meet Aus­tralia’s needs for 30 years or more, and could thus re-shape the na­tion’s gas equa­tion, in the event the mora­to­rium on un­con­ven­tional gas pro­duc­tion in the NT is lifted.

In­creas­ing the sup­ply of gas from north­ern Aus­tralia to the Wal­lum­billa trad­ing hub will also free up gas now flow­ing north-east from the Moomba gas hub in South Aus­tralia, and al­low it to flow in­stead to cus­tomers in Aus­tralia’s south­ern states.

Wal­lum­billa is in many re­spects the fu­ture heart of Aus­tralia’s gas sup­ply in­dus­try. Al­ready 75 per cent of east coast pro­duc­tion flows around Wal­lum­billa or Glad­stone. So it makes sense to send any new gas through this hub.

Q. What ad­vice would you give to some­one who wants to pur­sue a ca­reer sim­i­lar to yours?

The first thing I’d say is – good choice!

The en­ergy sec­tor is crit­i­cal to every as­pect of life in Aus­tralia, and to our fu­ture pros­per­ity. The sec­tor is also go­ing through mas­sive change, devel­op­ment and dis­rup­tion – all of which cre­ate un­prece­dented chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties, at both a per­sonal and an or­ga­ni­za­tional level.

Per­son­ally I can’t think of a more re­ward­ing sec­tor to work in.

A solid ground­ing in both tech­ni­cal knowl­edge and strate­gic busi­ness skills is ex­tremely use­ful.

But in many re­spects, the crit­i­cal di­men­sion that I’ve just al­luded to is change, and be­ing able to adapt to it, and in­deed lead peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions to and through it.

And the last thing I would add is to learn to lis­ten.

You will al­ways need the sup­port of the team around you, and to rec­og­nize their in­sights and con­tri­bu­tions. And of course, your cus­tomers are the rea­son you’re here – it’s ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial to lis­ten to them! But you also need to form your own opin­ions, chal­lenge oth­ers, and be cre­ative in find­ing the way for­ward.

“There needs to be new gas brought into the mar­ket to de­liver a sig­nif­i­cant down­ward shift in east coast gas and elec­tric­ity prices.”

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