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LfG 17/18 Seminar 7 blog

The first half of the Energy & Environment Seminar was hosted by Viva Energy at their Geelong refinery.

Jo Powell (External Communications & Social Investment Manager) demonstrated the significant efforts and investment that Viva are making to set their own standards, brand and image, whilst trying to shake off the legacies of the previous 60-year Shell era. The two areas of focus for their community relations are Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

Mark Gerhardy (Economics & Scheduling Manager) made clear the fiscal complexities currently facing Viva as well as those on the horizon. These include having to absorb a doubling in energy costs now, plus a $250m cost to tackle the new regulations around lowering sulphur for cars in the next seven years.

Thys Heyns (General Manager-Refining) explained some of the complexities of operating a refinery and the challenges specific to Viva Geelong in producing 19 million litres of fuel a day. How the age and relative small size of the refinery plus the Australian operating costs makes the site significantly more expensive than some of its overseas competition. The refinery employs around 700 staff but is of major significance to Geelong - indirectly providing work for an estimated 2000 people. They alone provide the port with 50% of its custom.

Dawn Conway (Environmental Lead) was able to not only identify the challenges of keeping an oil refinery compliant, but the social and ethical obligation they endeavour to fulfil. The relationship with the EPA has become a key factor in Viva's ability to improve from the position it was in 3 years ago when it purchased the site. A significant development is the sustainable use of recycled water from the Northern Water Treatment Plant. This water is a combination of Viva's used water and northern suburbs sewerage water. This plant was established in collaboration with Barwon Water.

The afternoon session was hosted by Barwon Water at their newly refurbished headquarters.

Shaun Cumming (General Manager Business Transformation) demonstrated the huge efforts already under way to reduce the emission created by Barwon Water in their operations. He mapped out how Barwon Water intended to expand the volume of recycled water and how where water is sourced has, and will, continue to change.

Adam Cunningham (Project Manager - Head Office Redevelopment) took us through the 10 year journey that has led to the Ryrie Street site redevelopment. He also expanded on Shaun's emission goals by explaining the innovations that had been incorporated into the building to allow it to achieve a 5 start green star rating.



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