The end is nigh 9 Apr 2013

As usual at this time I am struggling to think of something to write about, when along comes that ABC 4Corners programme, and ... I'm still struggling to write something because it's just too damned depressing.

In 30 years in this business I have never once seen anyone setting out to make a mess or ruin anyone's life, and I have seen many people putting serious time and money into avoiding just that. Our industry has never been cleaner and yet here we are with people weeping on national TV.

We have bought into the concept of the social license.

Everyone has done everything they can think of to avail themselves of one, and whole industries have grown up around the topic, but they are looking just a wee bit ephemeral: it's pretty easy to withdraw something you can't see. It should also occur to governments that if projects fall over because assessors aren't given the time and resources to assess it's not doing any of us any good.

A modest (conventional) development near me currently needs to achieve about 20 separate approvals under 12 separate Acts of Government. The assessors are all diligently administering the communities' legitimate expectations of a safe, clean and efficient development as they see them.

Does that translate into at least the start of community acceptance?

I hope so, but it certainly can't be assumed, and if not, does the paperwork actually achieve anything?

Having contributed a few pages to the stack of paper on regulators' desks over the years, I occasionally wonder if a few more dollars toward baseline studies, post-mortems and basic research, matched by a few more dollars from governments for basic research, might not achieve more in the long run.

On a brighter note I have been enjoying the occasional entry of industrial gas consumers into debates about gas supply and price. Seeing as how they are looking for feedstock at a stable (i.e. low) price I see a nice job opportunity for some enterprising PESA members to help them farm in to some supplies of their very own.

Every little bit of investment helps after all, and nothing sharpens the appetite like having some skin in the game. They can deliver themselves as much gas as they need at exactly the right price, and never need be troubled by gas going for higher prices elsewhere. Strikes me as a win-win: having a bash at the oil game doesn't seem to have done BHP any harm.

Thanks to those who sent us photos for the website. NSW was by far the biggest contributor. Footy tipping at 38 players and PESA membership at 2000. Good job all. I am coming to the end of my tenure as Federal President and at the AGM at APPEA I will be handing the epaulettes and gold braid over to Max Williamson in NSW.

I want to thank every all the PESA committee members around the country. Special mentions to Scott Mildren who has kept the battle for a new website alive: we will get there!; Sue Slater who has been Qld President for as long as I can remember plus brought home an EABS under difficult conditions, also Ivan Yiaw our Federal Treasurer; Phil Cooney who looked after DL tours; Brian and the PESA News people without whom you wouldn't be reading this, or much else worth reading about our industry for that matter; Ron and the CASM people who have behind the scenes got our accounting and governance onto an even keel; Bev who keeps your membership reminders coming; Ed Kopsen and the WABS committee who are waiting for you all to register up for the best WABS ever – all part of the good ship PESA.

The APPEA conference is coming up soon so I'll see many of you there I'm sure, but more at WABS I hope. As always, there are too many things undone, but we've had a few wins too. 

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