Since the Security and Reliability work programme commenced there have been significant developments in the gas transmission business. From mid-2016 First Gas became the sole owner of the transmission pipelines previously owned by Maui Development Limited (MDL) and Vector Limited (Vector). First Gas has since worked with stakeholders to unify and update the transmission access arrangements. The centre-piece of this work is the development of a Gas Transmission Pipeline Access Code (GTAC), expected to come into effect on 1 October 2020. Information about the development of the GTAC can be found here. In addition, First Gas has revitalized associated business practices, systems, and documentation.
Most of the recommendations of our earlier Security and Reliability (S&R) reports – the 2016 S&R Issues Paper and 2017 S&R Update – have been put into effect by First Gas through its continuous improvement of its stakeholder engagement and evolution of its Gas Transmission Asset Management Plan (AMP). Although we have not conducted any further in-depth S&R reviews, two reviews by AECOM, conducted on behalf of the Commerce Commission, give added confidence that First Gas is properly managing transmission pipelines risks.
AECOM’s 17 September 2019 report Geotechnical Risk Management Review – First Gas Transmission Pipelines, concluded that First Gas has good, well documented processes in place to identify geohazards and evaluate/manage the risks associated with them. The report recommended a number of opportunities for further improvement, such as developing action plans to address low probability, high impact events (e.g. major earthquakes and volcanic events); further data capture, including by new automated systems; better definition of High, Medium and Low risk classifications; and, succession planning for staff pipeline integrity specialists.
AECOM’s 4 October 2019 report Risk Management Review of Gas Pipeline Businesses, looked at the four distribution pipeline businesses as well as the gas transmission business. In relation to the transmission business, it found that risk was a high priority, and that there was a strong culture of continuous improvement. The report suggests that, while First Gas is approaching the best level of risk management, there are still opportunities for further improvement. For example, it could benefit from a less prescriptive approach; developing a better understanding of stakeholder appetite for supply risk; and a better understanding of long-term failure profiles.