SEAAOC under the sunset, sunshine and spotlight. Day two uncovered, with five more SEAAOC snapshots

SEAAOC held its conference dinner in a truly spectacular setting, with sunset on the beach and dinner under the stars in Darwin!

After a great evening of networking, it was back into Day Two of the conference– with a focus on the changing energy landscape and what this means for the future.

Five more SEAAOC snapshots

Today’s conversations focused on energy security, the role of gas and renewables in the energy mix, updates from six key energy projects and the activities underway by companies to ensure our energy future – including new pipeline development and a possible new LNG import terminal on the East Coast.

These sessions brought to life the need to create a range of solutions – on shore and offshore, large and small scale, integrated and distributed – as well as the need to develop supporting infrastructure. The message was clear –it is imperative to create both certainty and agility to tackle our energy challenges.

In the near future Australia will, for the first time, have a more connected energy system with West Coast gas resources ultimately able to make their way (by pipeline or ship) to the East Coast in order to more securely meet energy demand.

With a diversity of topics explored, here are five key takeaways from Day Two:

#1 New energies, new markets & the role of gas  

What are the solutions for the future and what is the role of new energies? Today’s speakers stated it will be through a partnership between renewables and gas as the lowest cost and least disruptive way of achieving emission reductions.

We heard from Cameron Parrotte of AEMO on the role of gas in power generation and from Schlumberger’s Technical Manager Daniel Kalinin, who provided a truly global tour of many new technologies in use to optimise production and manage water in onshore unconventional gas.

#2 Project updates as projects get turned over to operations

I will miss this tradition of project updates, as the last of Australia’s mega-projects are now transitioning into operations phase! Prelude and Ichthys are ready to do what they were designed for – produce energy for Australia and the world.

While this creates huge opportunities for the companies and for the Territory, there are many challenges as well. We all need to work together to achieve the best way forward.

We were treated to some fascinating insights from ConocoPhillips, INPEX, Shell Australia, Origin Energy, Oil Search and Horizon Oil:

Chris Wilson, President – Australia West, ConocoPhillips, gave a great presentation that highlighted the history and track record of the ConocoPhillips operated Darwin LNG. With 12 years of operation and nearly 600 cargoes loaded, DLNG has had a strong and positive impact on the development of Northern Australia. Chris described the efforts by ConocoPhillips and partners to extend the life of this asset to 2040 by developing new offshore gas to backfill DLNG and the possibility of a second LNG train. If this new LNG project moves to FID it may be the first one in Australia since 2012!

Sean Kildare, General Manager – Darwin, INPEX, put a spotlight on some powerful numbers! The Ichthys project, has had a powerful impact on the Northern Territories in terms of job creation which will continue for another 40 years!

David Bird, Vice President Prelude, Shell Australia announced that 16 massive mooring chains are now securing Prelude to the sea floor, making it a permanent part of this region for many years to come. David’s talk was focused on innovation and collaboration. He highlighted the South Metropolitan TAFE training program, Shell’s endowment of a chair in Offshore Structures at UWA and also the Bureau of Meteorology weather forecasting initiative that was recently completed between several operators. We also heard about what Shell is doing to engage with local and aboriginal businesses.

Dr David Close, Unconventional Exploration Manager & Chief Geologist, Origin Energy spoke about onshore gas development in the Beetaloo Basin and what this could mean for Australia if onshore drilling is permitted. He also said that renewables would comprise 25% of Origin’s future energy mix.

Dr Keiran Wulff, Executive General Manager Exploration & New Business, Oil Search, flew in just in time from PNG and brought to life the unique country and its incredible assets. He discussed the possible expansion of the remarkable PNG LNG asset and the potential to double LNG production. He also shared insights into Oil Search’s exploration successes, and the meaningful way Oil Search is involved in social responsibility initiatives including a biomass project in PNG.

Brent Emmett, CEO, Horizon Oil also updated the audience on the very interesting PNG Western LNG project that involves the development of two pipelines and small scale LNG. PNG is rich in mineral and gas and as a country is keen to support large scale resource projects.

#3 Stranded gas, domestic supply options and potential shortfalls

Phaedra Deckart, Head of Wholesale Gas, AGL Energy, spoke about AGL’s plans to be prepared to address potential East Coast gas shortfalls. Just a few years ago, a project of this nature would seem inconceivable, yet now AGL has selected a site for a new FSRU. This presentation highlighted how the market is finely balanced and that small variations in supply or demand can lead to shortfalls.

A powerful panel discussion brought to light different perspectives on the best way forward for energy security in Australia.

We also heard how we need to get better at selling a compelling narrative as an industry. The way in which we communicate our messages, projects, insights, successes, ideas and innovations is critical to the future of our industry.

#4 A focus on small and green 

Matthew Marinovich of Baker Hughes GE spoke about the company’s small scale LNG solutions. He described the Elba Island project which is based on 10 small trains of which BHGE has already delivered the first 6. This innovation has the added advantage that the project can start production in a staged approach, before all the trains are installed.

Another key trend actively discussed was how the industry operates within a green / clean energy mandate.

In an era of focusing on low carbon and low emissions, the concept of “The Green Cheap Squeeze” was mentioned. Gas is needed to partner with renewables to develop an energy system that is low carbon, reliable and affordable.

#5 What does the future hold?

The “tipping point” theme of Day One continued into Day Two. Darwin and the NT are now squarely on the map when it comes to gas and the future of energy.

A big takeaway was the increasing connection between our gas projects and both the local and global economy– in a way we have never seen before.

Gas is now making the Northern Territory and PNG epicentres for the cleaner, greener, more reliable energy sources.

It’s important that we keep the momentum of the conference going through robust conversations, honest dialogue and collaborative forums with all stakeholders.

We all have a role to play to deliver the energy ecosystem. To paraphrase Aristotle, the industry, working together as a whole, will achieve outcomes far greater than what could be achieved through the sum of its individual parts!

And that’s a wrap!

Stay tuned for further conversations and insights on all energy related topics.


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