The Year That Was

At its core, OPEC Systems is an environmental engineering company, and it’s through the prism of environment that we reflect on our progress during 2019.

The year was characterised by a worldwide push towards renewables. We recognised this shift within our own business modelling, and with an eye to the future we initiated a rebrand of our Industrial Division to Energy. While our traditional focus on bulk fuel infrastructure remains, we are actively turning our attention to supplying the renewables market across waste reclamation and power generation technology alternatives including hydrogen, solar, wind and biofuels. It’s an exciting initiative to be a part of as the world reorients towards a more renewables focused future.

There were a lot of disruptive influences at work throughout the year, culminating for me in a significant amount of reflection and introspection about how we run our business, who we engage with and how we can influence industry for the better.

In the area of environmental contamination, we have seen an awareness dawn across the globe regarding the impacts and issues associated with massive scale fluorocarbon pollution. In Australia we have been part of the commissioning of world first treatment plants to remediate PFAS in both water and soil. We are witnessing the end of the PFAS characterisation stage as we transition into the remediation stage. 

At OPEC, we have seen the birth of a couple of key initiatives that have been in the pipeline for several years. We are beyond proud of our work to commercialise our PFAS remediation technologies, with a highlight being the installation of our water treatment plant at Oakey. And in parallel, after several years of funding a start-up operation, we are now gaining traction in the CBRN protective suit market. Award recognition including ‘Defence Innovator of the Year’, ‘Australian Technology Company of the Year’ as well as the ‘Australian Advanced Manufacturing Award’ this year acknowledges our hard work in these areas. 

We are now working steadily to consolidate our UK office, and are making progress with forming a number of US entities that will commence operations in 2020. This year also saw the successful delivery of several large contracts – the biggest in our history. The renewal of multi-year contracts for our Marine Division was also significant as we continue to protect our harbors and oceans from the spectre of oil spills. 

On the Defence front, we welcomed the release of Defence’s estate-wide ten-year UXO remediation initiative. As a precursor to this enormous body of works, we performed broad scale munitions remediation at several key defence range locations. Also, after eight years, we successfully closed out our works cleaning up toxic remnants of war at Defence Site Maribyrnong and we are looking forward to commencing future chemical weapons related projects in the New Year.

For me personally, this year has been the culmination of three decades of consistent work to bring the company to a point where it is now acknowledged as an industry leader in the environmental engineering space. 

Despite the many inherent challenges, the future augurs well as we strive as a company to create a better future. Let’s see what 2020 brings. 

Peter Murphy

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