The Australian Gas Industry is being transformed by the adoption of new technologies. In response, the Gas Industry Reference Committee has initiated four projects (see below) to review and develop qualifications and occupational skills standards to address the changing skill needs of the industry.

The Gas Supply industry is divided into four sectors: LPG bottling and storage; retailers that buy and sell gas; transmission operators that transport gas from production facilities to the entry point of the distribution network; and distributors that operate the networks carrying gas to the end user. This rapidly growing industry is driving enormous investment in Australia.

Forecast growth in employment in the sector is 4.8 per cent over the next five years, resulting in a steady demand for a skilled workforce. The industry also needs to upskill its existing workforce to keep up with the demands of changing technology.

The 2019 Gas Industry Reference Committee Skills Forecast reported that digital technologies are providing new ways for safer and more efficient operation and maintenance of gas assets. Robotics will enable remote operations and increased oversight of utilities and infrastructure, especially in remote or hard-to-access areas across the 37,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission pipelines in the country. In-pipe inspection robots and wireless sensor technology, expected to be introduced soon, will lower inspection costs by up to 25 per cent.

As these devices become more mainstream, gas-fitters and workers in the Gas Supply industry will need to learn how sensors are installed, monitored and maintained.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) are also being used to inspect pipelines and infrastructure for fugitive gas emissions and pipeline inefficiencies. The data and images captured by the drones have to be analysed in real-time, pointing to the need for new capabilities in data analytics. RPAS can also be equipped with imaging and mapping technologies such as light-weight LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging remote sensing), advanced photogrammetry technologies, and thermal imaging technologies to monitor and create a digital map of the terrain and infrastructure. Here, too, the industry will be looking for a new type of electronic map reading skills.

Chair of the Gas IRC, Lindsay Eisemann, said “Broad industry consultation and research conducted with the assistance of AIS has identified a range of additional gas industry skills required to ensure the industry can maximise the benefits from new technological developments. The IRC has developed a detailed schedule of work for the next 4 years to address industry skilling needs.”

The four projects detailed below have been prioritised by the Gas IRC to address immediate needs of the industry. Click on the links below to view project pages:

Pipeline Emergency Repairs

  • Develop five new Units of Competency to support the skills needs of gas technicians undertaking pipeline emergency repairs

Gas Processing

  • Develop one new Unit of Competency for operating ancillary gas processing equipment within gas transmission installations

Gas Leak Survey

  • Develop two new Units of Competency to support the skills needs of gas technicians undertaking foot and vehicle gas leak surveys and a range of gas industry tasks and other relevant industry skills that may also be undertaken using Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

Gas Control Systems

  • Develop a qualification that addresses the skills and knowledge requirements of Gas Controllers. This project will review and update five existing Units of Competency and develop up to five new Units of Competency to address the skills and knowledge required to operate effectively in gas supply and distribution installations

The Gas Industry Reference Committee is forming a single Technical Advisory Committee for the Pipeline Emergency Repair, Processing and Leak Survey projects, and a separate Technical Advisory Committee for the Control Systems project. For further details on the background and project deliverables, please visit the project pages or contact the Industry Manager.

Gas Skills Forecast 2019 Cover