What are we SEEING at SEAAOC? Day one unearthed, with five SEAAOC snapshots

What are we SEEING at SEEAOC? Day one unearthed

From innovation to case studies, panel sessions to robust questions and more, the South East Asia Australia Offshore & Onshore Conference (SEAAOC) atmosphere has been vibrant and dynamic.

It’s definitely clear that the Northern Territory is at a powerful tipping point – with three world-class offshore LNG assets having arrived here in the last few months and onshore LNG trains starting up soon. From the moment I arrived in Darwin, there was an incredible feeling of what’s possible for this industry as we shape the future of tomorrow.

Five SEAAOC snapshots

What have we seen? With a diversity of senior industry leaders, delegates, speakers, sponsors and attendees, the power of a conference really came to life. Today’s conference included insightful presentations and open debates around the challenges the industry is facing, great networking sessions and some candid discussions about where the industry is going locally and globally.

Here are my top five insights and themes:

#1 Innovation is moving front and centre stage (as long as you listen carefully to the ideas around you)

There has been a definite theme today around the topic of innovation. While it can mean different things to different sectors or people, at the end of day we need to do more innovation, right now.

With reference to Kodak’s decline and other key examples, the question was asked: is there a failure to innovate? Some wonderful sentiments were expressed during this morning’s presentation with a focus on how at Amazon, innovation is everyone’s job.

A powerful quote from Amazon that really brought this overall theme to life was: “Our customers are loyal to us right up until the second somebody offers them a better service.” It’s therefore critical that we all remind ourselves regularly of this requirement to innovate – and to innovate often.

We also heard that it’s important to “view failure as fertiliser” – which is a marvellous metaphor in being able to shape, grow, mould and cultivate ideas from every experience.

#2 It’s time to ask the difficult questions

Imagine what leaders can achieve when they ask more questions? Today’s commentary really brought this into focus around the fact that it’s only by asking robust questions across the Oil and Gas landscape, that we begin to scratch the surface on solutions, ideas and a pathway forward.

A fascinating slide featured an adapted quote from Stuart Firestein that mentioned that “a good question can give rise to several layers of answers, can inspire decades-long searches for solutions, can generate whole new fields of inquiry and disrupt entrenched thinking” whereas “answers on the other hand, often end in the process.”

We therefore need to collectively contribute to these powerful questions – that can lead to powerful perspectives. Another great insight mentioned was that across the entire industry, we need to question whether linear thinking is holding us back?

If it is, we need to consider being more agile. As a key presentation highlighted, it’s a focus on being quick to mobilise, being nimble, collaborative, responsive and being empowered to act.

And finally, Spencer Dale, BP’s Chief Economist, closed out day one by walking us through three very interesting questions: What determines oil supplies when oil is not exhaustible; how will LNG change global gas pricing; and how quickly will renewables penetrate the energy system?

#3 Get in the driver’s seat

Building upon innovation and strategic questioning, we also need to collectively move forward as an industry with powerful decision making.

Speaking of being in the driver’s seat, there was also talk of the increasingly prominent role of the electric car in the new energy world. With a massive decrease in battery prices evident, the electric car is on the rise and rise – so much so that Oil and Gas C-Suite are the prime target audience who are actively buying them.

All the previous negatives around electric cars are also being slowed down – with their attractiveness accelerating, especially when the fastest cars like Tesla can go from zero to 100km in 4 seconds, but can also drive 1000km on a single charge! A reference was made to a campaign in France by one service provider, where the most you’ll pay to charge your electric vehicle is $1 a day. Yes! That’s only $365 per year.

#4 The best days are ahead of us

We all need to work collaboratively to ensure that the best days are ahead of us and that the future of oil and gas is bright.

A presentation by Santos noted that development of shale and tight gas resources could provide a cumulative $22.4 billion dollar boost to the NT economy over 20 years, and an additional 6,300 jobs by 2040! The enormous potential that brings is astonishing – fuelled by innovation which is critical.

When it comes to creating a thriving future, we also need to focus on connectivity and the power of Darwin being so close to Asia. Far from the usual commentary about Darwin being remote, it is in fact perfectly positioned to forge close ties with South East Asia to leverage the relationship, ideas and innovation potential!

#5 Becoming internationally competitive

I was extremely fortunate to present on Day One at the Conference and for me it’s all about clusters and hives. With more than 25,000 types of bees and 2000 in Australia, the insights we can yield from bees is incredible!

When it comes to lessons for Darwin and Australia, there are five key strategies for industry collaboration (and competitiveness) that we can learn from bees – namely: working together toward a common goal, having clearly defined roles, dividing up tasks efficiently, teaching each other to solve problems and building efficient ecosystems.

So how cost competitive are we in Australia? Well, Australian LNG is at the upper end of the global cost curve – and there is an absolute imperative to find ways to improve economics overall. And globally, what can we learn there? Qatar can expand with little incremental cost and we also mustn’t forget Russia and Africa – they are the countries to watch.

What’s next?

It’s clear from Day One that this beautiful Larrakia country is rich in natural resources – from uranium to gold, natural gas and more – everything is here in NT! If we all work collectively we can create a unique, world-class natural resources cluster and shape our energy future.

What role will you play?

Stay tuned for more insights from Day Two.


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