It’s nice to be back in Brisbane for a rest from the conferences. I’m fortunate to have been able to attend both of the best pipeline conferences this year: IPC in Calgary, and APGA this year in Perth.
The Perth event was, like the Calgary one, surprisingly upbeat and fun. My acquaintances (not in the industry) have asked ‘what was the mood like?’, because while not specifically in the pipeline industry, most are involved in the resources sector and we all know about the downturn affecting us. And in truth, I have been able to tell them that the mood was rather good. I hope it’s not because we’re in denial. Our situation is changing, but there are still opportunities to be found.
There were over 300 delegates – which is impressive given the location (the west coast of Australia is a long way from the east coast, and therefore time-consuming and expensive to get t0).
Those in the Australian industry know that the annual conference is an essential event on the calendar, due to its ability to bring all sectors together in one place, with a slight focus on business sessions but a bigger focus on networking and meeting new contacts. And again, it did not fail.
The four evening sessions (Saturday -Tuesday nights) allowed plenty of time to talk, and reminisce, and argue, and agree, and drink nice wine, eat good food, and, funny enough with many of us in our middle-ages, dance.
The business sessions were well attended and topical. I noticed that this year, there was a focus on markets and the future of gas, which is appropriate. What I learned, is that even having been in the industry for over 20 years, I’ve never really thought about who uses gas, who our customers are, and how we grow market-share. Interestingly, that is both simplistic and complicated: the utility companies, and industrial users, are our customers – but it’s complicated by policy and regulation, and now moreso than ever, the environmental lobby.
Amongst all the noise, we do need to think about who uses the products in our pipelines, and, how we get more users.