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Rising to the challenge

Cite Magazine

Curtin business graduate Joachim Tan has been recognised as one of the top 20 most influential gas leaders in Australia in the latest edition of Gas Today – the peak resource for trusted, relevant news for the gas industry.

The Top 20 Australia Gas Leaders: Individual list charts a mix of gas stalwarts and upcoming visionaries who have made a significant impact on the Australian gas industry.

Born in Singapore, Joachim was curious about economics and finance from a very young age.

“I was interested in how the economy worked, how commercial decisions were made and how Singapore had successfully achieved such a phenomenal growth,” says Joachim.

It was this curiosity that led Joachim to Curtin, where he studied a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Economics and Finance.

After graduating with honours, Joachim worked for a start-up company and at Curtin University as a researcher and lecturer. This work foundation enabled him to gain employment with the Western Australian Government in developing and managing broadband and telecommunications projects as well as developing the WA strategy for telecommunications in a bid to expand the coverage of telecommunications at a low cost to regional areas. For his efforts, he earned several state and national awards in Australia in the telecommunications industry and was quickly seconded into the Office of Energy, now the Public Utilities Office. It was there that Joachim was drawn into the gas industry.

“My first involvement in the gas relates to a transmission pipeline, when I was tasked with developing pipeline easement charging model that would satisfy all parties in a dispute,” says Joachim. “After studying multiple methods, I developed a formula that was amicable to all. This model is still applied in estimating easements for existing and future gas pipelines.”

This challenge blossomed his interest in natural gas, and Joachim began to seek more challenges within the industry.

Now, as the principal gas analyst with the Western Australian energy market operator – the Independent Market Operator – Joachim examines, analyses, forecasts and reports on the state of WA natural gas and the Asia Pacific LNG markets. He is also responsible for assisting with the development of WA gas and electricity markets and the internationally recognised Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO) publication.

“The GSOO publication is an in-depth review of the potential domestic and international events, emerging trends and risks that may affect the WA domestic gas and LNG markets, the largest gas market in Australia,” explains Joachim.

The publication also provides a medium- to long-term outlook, including forecasts, on gas demand, gas supply and potential domestic and LNG gas prices in WA, making it essential reading for anyone involved in the state’s gas and LNG markets.

The importance of playing the angles

Joachim says his success lies in his ability to consider issues from multiple angles.

“At Curtin, the content of my majors (economics and finance) showed that there were different ways of analysing a problem,” he says. “Now, I always consider all angles when assessing and analysing, and this has held me in high regard.”

As for his recognition by Gas Today, Joachim attributes this to a combination of influences from his wife and former mentor and boss.

“My wife Amanda, who is also a trained economist, constantly assesses each situation from the viewpoint of others to identify any potential conflicts. She is better at managing people and has shared with me how she would deal with situations on several occasions, and this has become second nature to me in all my dealings with others.

“Additionally, during my time in telecommunication projects, my then boss taught me to think strategically about the execution pathway for all pieces of work, how to work collaboratively and effectively with all stakeholders and how I can always think beyond the box. Although I’m no longer working with him, his attitude and work philosophy has remained with me. It has allowed me to apply it to another industry and allowed me to be recognised as a top 20 innovative leader in the natural gas industry.”

Community just as important as career

With the recent volatility in commodity prices in the energy sector coupled with pressures from the international market, you might be forgiven for thinking Joachim has enough on his plate. But far from being content with focusing on his career, Joachim also donates his time to other causes.

“I am heavily involved in volunteering at several not-for-profit organisations, namely Subiaco Church of Christ, the Singapore Chamber of Commerce (Western Australia), the Singapore Western Australia Network, the Borderless Gandhi project and the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast,” he says.

“For the Singapore Western Australia Network, I work closely with the Singapore community to promote and maintain the Singapore heritage and culture alive by organising the Singapore Film Festival (in 2015, it will run across Canberra, Perth, Sydney), Chinese New Year and Community Day celebrations.

“For Borderless Gandhi, I am involved working with the Indian community to bring a special art exhibit to Australia on Mahatma Gandhi, his life and his beliefs. This will allow Australia to further understand the Indian culture and assist with building a good relationship with a future economic powerhouse, India.”

So where to next for this go-getter? It seems as long as it’s a challenge, it’s on the list: skydiving, sailing down the Riviera and starting a private equity or hedge fund are just a few.

“Life is short. Though I continually seek out challenges that allow me to show others what I am capable of, it must continually improve my knowledge, intellect and skills,” explains Joachim.

“My big career goal is to someday have the opportunity to lead an international organisation with a global focus.”

 

The inaugural Australia’s Gas Leaders 2015 is touted as the “must-have guide on who’s who in the gas industry” and showcases the top 20 individuals, companies and emerging gas companies in Australia.

Individuals listed in the Top 20 Australian Gas Leaders 2015: Individuals were selected based on exceptional individuals whose numerous awards, professional associations and individual contributions to the Australian gas industry have been exemplary.

Graduate snapshot

Name: Joachim Tan

Studied: Bachelor of Commerce (Economics and Finance)

Degree: 1998