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
The afternoon session was hosted by Barwon Water at their newly
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
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