HSE is high on the agenda of the Executive Board and is the focus of constant attention within our organisation. In all our activities, our motto is ‘Think Safety’. In 2011, we introduced the Gasunie Golden Rules of Safety, which are now applied throughout the organisation. In 2012, we published a public HSE website in order to provide our customers and suppliers with better information about HSE. We are working systematically on developing an integrated Safety Management System, which serves the safety of our people, our work processes and our environment.
The reportable frequency index* for personal safety came out at 2.5 per million working hours. This figure is considerably lower than the signal value for 2012 (<5.0). In fact, the value of 2.5 for 2012 is the lowest since 2006, when we started registering the reportable frequency index in this way.
However, the number of potentially serious incidents did increase, indicating that a number of incidents and situations occurred that could have led to serious incidents. We do everything we can to prevent these situations. In 2012, we therefore paid special attention to process safety, and will continue to do so in 2013.
The number of pipeline incidents as a result of mechanical excavation activities fell from 7 in 2011 to 5 in 2012, a number that is below the signal value set for 2012. One incident involved a gas leak in the regional pipeline system.
As expected, the production of natural gas in Europe is diminishing. Domestic production in countries such as the UK and Germany is falling, and in due course production in the Netherlands will also decline. The shortfall will gradually be made up by imported gas from, amongst other places, Russia and by LNG from other parts of the world. Gasunie plans to take advantage of this development by being present at all the relevant entry points and transit routes of natural gas in and through Europe. For example, we are present in the entire east-west connection from Russia to the UK.
Meanwhile, following the United States, the subject of shale gas has taken a prominent place on the political agenda in Europe. In the Netherlands, research will be carried out into the pros and cons of shale gas. Within Europe, for the time being, no large quantities of shale gas are expected and it seems unlikely that shale gas will be able to compensate for the decline in European production.
Regulators are continually imposing more stringent requirements on our operations. On the one hand, legislation is being tightened, while on the other hand, the energy bill for customers cannot rise too high. In the long term, we aim to be an internationally operating company that is active in regions with growth opportunities and with the security of a good, stable investment climate.
We have serious ambitions for the coming years. Besides becoming a more effective organisation internally, we strive to become even more efficient, serving our customers in the best possible way, and being fully conscious of our social responsibility. This is reflected in, amongst other things, the way we ensure security of supply by transporting imported gas to replace the decline in domestic production. Finally, we want to enable our employees to focus on using their talents to help us achieve our ambitions.
Changing playing field
We want to provide our customers with good service. We are therefore continually looking for ways of improving our service provision, such as in the field of logistic efficiency. For example, demand for extra capacity that emerged from the Open Season 2017 (held by GTS in 2012) can now largely be met using our existing infrastructure. Our strategy of serving our customers efficiently and with the right services has delivered demonstrable results in 2012, such as the continuing growth of TTF. In a world that is rapidly changing, we aim to continue in this direction in the years to come.
On a changing playing field, it is crucially important that we all maintain the correct focus within the organisation. We will therefore, more than ever, need to devote more attention to our stakeholders in the market and in society. As an organisation, we are ready for new challenges. Precisely because of that, we are ready to grasp opportunities and where necessary adjust to new circumstances, both in the short and in the long term.
* accidents followed by absence, medical treatment, alternative work or fatalities