Distribution, Gas, Markets, Technology

Driving the gas industry: Ollie Clark

Mr Clark has served as the President of a number of gas industry associations, including the Australian Gas Association, the Asia Pacific Natural Gas Vehicles Association and the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles.

As such, Mr Clark champions the use of natural gas as a vehicular fuel, saying that recognition is required of the huge role natural gas vehicles could play in Australia.

“What is needed is government recognition and appreciation of the contribution gas can make as a vehicular fuel.”?

He says that it would be great to see regulation in the form of government policy stipulating that Australia should use 20 per cent of gas by the year 2020 for motor vehicles.

He also says that he would like to see government funding for Australian motor car companies to perfect gas engines and gas hybrid models. “I would love to see a lot of money put into the perfection of the gas engine at the original equipment manufacturer.”?

The importance of gas marketing

During his years in the industry Mr Clark says there have been many drivers consistently moving the gas industry forward, such as the nature of the fuel itself; its application as a domestic and an industrial and commercial fuel; the ever increasing availability of the resource and its relatively decreasing price; and, its delivery reliability to the customer.

In addition, Mr Clark sees industry marketing of gas over many years as helping the resource’s development.

“Years ago gas companies used to advertise quite heavily about the use of gas and what great stuff it is, and they used to sell appliances and sell deals to customers to have gas appliances installed,”? says Mr Clark. “They also used to do a hell of a lot of work with builders to make sure that new homes were equipped with gas.”?

Mr Clark says that, with the focus now on energy, not as much of this natural gas specific marketing activity has been seen recently. “They don’t really care whether its gas or electricity as long as it’s their customer,”? he says.

Mr Clark believes that this shift was instigated with the restructuring of the energy industry that formally commenced in 1991.

“It made it so that you were either a distributor or a retailer, but of both electricity and gas. Therefore, the sort of competition between the two just sort of fell away and nobody was interested in promoting gas for its own sake anymore.”?

He notes that it is possible this will change, particularly in the commercial and industrial area, as companies are asked to put a price on their emissions as part of a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and turn to gas as a transitionary fuel while alternative forms of energy become more available.

Industry co-operation

Mr Clark says the industry has great potential to achieve a lot if it consolidates. “I think it [the industry] could accelerate and get into the stage that it’s inevitably going to get to [more quickly], if all sectors of the industry – production, transmission, distribution and reselling- all work together.

“I think that bringing together all of the sectors of the gas industry up in Brisbane at FutureGAS is a major step forward.”?

He says that annual or biannual events such as FutureGAS will prove invaluable for the promotion and development of the industry.

Good times for gas

Mr Clark sees “nothing but good times”? for the gas industry over the next 20 years. “I think that by 2020 the industry will be selling at least one and a half times what it is now. I think it will be up around 30 per cent of the prime energy being used in the nation.”?

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