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The an­nual Aus­tralian Petroleum Pro­duc­tion and Ex­plo­ration As­so­ci­a­tion (APPEA) con­fer­ence and ex­hi­bi­tion re­turns to Ade­laide next month, bring­ing to­gether oil and gas pro­fes­sion­als, in­dus­try lead­ers, an­a­lysts and pol­i­cy­mak­ers from across Aus­tralia and the world. El­iz­a­beth Fabri spoke with APPEA chief ex­ec­u­tive Mal­colm Roberts about what del­e­gates can ex­pect from this year’s con­fer­ence, run­ning from 14-17 May.

Q. Fol­low­ing the 2017 con­fer­ence in Perth, what feed­back did you get from the in­dus­try?

APPEA del­e­gates never hes­i­tate to give us feed­back! Del­e­gates are al­ways seek­ing in­sights into how the global mar­ket is chang­ing – the op­por­tu­ni­ties and risks ahead. Our in­ter­na­tional speak­ers bring a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive to these is­sues.

Del­e­gates are acutely aware that tech­nol­ogy as well as mar­kets are chang­ing rapidly, so there is strong in­ter­est in prac­ti­cal sto­ries of in­no­va­tion and busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion.

The in­dus­try is not quar­an­tined from the changes oc­cur­ring in so­ci­ety. The Di­ver­sity and In­clu­sion ple­nary gen­er­ated a lot of healthy dis­cus­sion in 2017 and is very much a theme for this year’s con­fer­ence.

APPEA strives to de­liver a broad pro­gram which ap­peals to ev­ery­one in the in­dus­try.

Q. Can you de­scribe this year’s theme ‘Re­silient Busi­ness: Suc­cess in the New En­ergy Mar­ket’?

Every APPEA con­fer­ence is built around a broad theme which cap­tures the is­sues of the day while also pos­ing some big, strate­gic ques­tions. Re­silience is a sim­ple word but it cap­tures a host of chal­lenges.

The last three years have tested the ca­pac­ity of every busi­ness in the in­dus­try to ad­just to tough mar­ket con­di­tions.

Suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies have done more than just cut costs and ra­tio­nalise as­sets. Busi­ness strate­gies have changed as has busi­ness meth­ods. The en­thu­si­asm for in­dus­try col­lab­o­ra­tion is just one ex­am­ple. And where bet­ter to share these in­sights than the APPEA Con­fer­ence?

Look­ing at the en­ergy mar­ket, we have the bizarre sit­u­a­tion that the need for more gas has never been more ob­vi­ous or more press­ing – for Aus­tralia and our global cus­tomers – but the po­lit­i­cal con­ver­sa­tion is dom­i­nated by other agen­das. APPEA is warn­ing that gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion in mar­kets is jeop­ar­dis­ing es­sen­tial in­vest­ment and adding un­nec­es­sary costs and risks.

Q. How will this year’s con­fer­ence and ex­hi­bi­tion dif­fer from pre­vi­ous years?

APPEA is known for its world-class key­note speak­ers, the high-qual­ity tech­ni­cal and busi­ness pro­gram and the show­case of the in­dus­try, the APPEA Ex­hi­bi­tion. These el­e­ments are stronger than ever in our 2018 pro­gram, with some twists.

The Prod­uct Pre­sen­ta­tion Theatre is an arena on the Ex­hi­bi­tion floor, where ex­hibitors will present their prod­ucts and ser­vices. The theatre is a great op­por­tu­nity for our ex­hibit­ing com­pa­nies and to our del­e­gates who will see first-hand, in a pro­fes­sional set­ting, the lat­est tech­nolo­gies.

In part­ner­ship with EY, APPEA will host the EY Col­lab­o­ra­tion Cen­tre on the ex­hi­bi­tion floor. The cen­tre will be open to del­e­gates to come to­gether at breaks in the pro­gram to de­bate their in­dus­try is­sues. It’s an ideal way for groups who wish to dis­cuss a par­tic­u­lar topic to meet in one spot and not get lost in the crowds. A full cal­en­dar of top­ics will be is­sued two weeks out from the event.

We are very ex­cited to launch the APPEA Con­fer­ence Youth Pro­gram at Ade­laide. This ini­tia­tive will see high school stu­dents ex­pe­ri­ence a day at the con­fer­ence. Their pro­gram will in­clude meet­ing in­dus­try lead­ers, learn­ing about ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties in the in­dus­try, and see­ing the lat­est in tech­nolo­gies.

Pro­mot­ing the in­dus­try to stu­dents is es­sen­tial to en­sure we con­tinue to at­tract tal­ented peo­ple.

Q. Who are the key­note speak­ers and what will be some of their big­gest dis­cus­sion points?

There are too many to list ev­ery­one, but names such as Peter Cole­man and Shaun Gre­gory (Wood­side), Nigel Hearne (Chevron), Zoe Yu­jnovich (Shell), Kevin Gal­lagher (San­tos), Peter Ben­nett (Clough), Larry Mar­shall (CSIRO), Diane Smith-gan­der, Tom Quinn (Broad­spec­trum) and Matthew Kay (Beach) will pro­vide del­e­gates with in­dus­try per­spec­tives on sub­jects rang­ing from the Global En­ergy Out­look and Di­ver­sity and In­clu­sion, to Tech­nol­ogy and the Sup­ply Chain dy­nam­ics.

APPEA has also se­cured speak­ers out­side the im­me­di­ate in­dus­try to pro­vide unique per­spec­tives and to pro­voke de­bate.

Amy May­ers Jaffe is one such speaker who is di­rect from Wash­ing­ton DC. Its Amy’s first visit to Aus­tralia so I an­tic­i­pate we will hear some new views in her ad­dress ‘Com­pet­ing op­tions for en­ergy trans­for­ma­tion: Im­pli­ca­tions for Aus­tralia’.

Q. Why did APPEA choose to hold the con­fer­ence in Ade­laide this year?

South Aus­tralia is an im­por­tant part of our in­dus­try. The South Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment has also been a great ad­vo­cate for nat­u­ral gas as well for re­new­ables.

With the new in­vest­ment flow­ing into the Cooper Basin, the vast po­ten­tial of the Great Aus­tralian Bight and the lift in on­shore ex­plo­ration, South Aus­tralia has ex­cit­ing sto­ries to tell.

Q. What are your pre­dic­tions for the en­ergy in­dus­try through 2018 and 2019?

I am look­ing for­ward to a steady im­prove­ment in mar­ket con­di­tions, with our LNG ex­ports surg­ing and earn­ing bet­ter prices.

Ex­plo­ration re­mains a real con­cern, with ac­tiv­ity very sub­dued and gov­ern­ments do­ing lit­tle to help. One of the great ‘known un­knowns’ is how much more de­mand we may see in the na­tional elec­tric­ity mar­ket for gas-fired gen­er­a­tion, given the in­creas­ing pen­e­tra­tion of re­new­ables and the clo­sure of Hazel­wood.

Q. How do APPEA’S net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties dif­fer to other in­dus­try con­fer­ences?

As the APPEA Con­fer­ence is only open to paid del­e­gates and ex­hibitors and in­vited guests (it’s not open to the gen­eral pub­lic), ev­ery­one at the event is a po­ten­tial qual­ity con­tact.

APPEA prides it­self on creat­ing the ideal en­vi­ron­ment for four days of in­dus­try net­work­ing - and mak­ing new con­tacts at APPEA 2018 is guar­an­teed!

We gather the en­tire sup­ply chain, reg­u­la­tors, stake­hold­ers and com­mu­nity groups to come to­gether to dis­cuss and net­work.

Each day there are mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to meet with your tar­get mar­ket and in­dus­try sec­tor or to take ad­van­tage of the ‘one stop shop’ and mix with new con­tacts.

The Ex­hi­bi­tion floor, re­fresh­ment and lunch breaks, the of­fi­cial mem­bers and au­thors lunch, the happy hours, the EY Col­lab­o­ra­tion Cen­tre with their ‘Hot Top­ics Pro­gram’ – all op­por­tu­ni­ties to mix with qual­ity in­dus­try and stake­holder rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Q. How were reg­is­tra­tions go­ing?

The ex­hi­bi­tion is close to sold out with more than 100 ex­hibitors pre­par­ing for their show­case at APPEA – so we are well on track for an­other great turnout.

We are cer­tainly look­ing for over 2000 at­ten­dees to come and see APPEA 2018 and all it has to of­fer!

Q. What are the key ben­e­fits for del­e­gates that at­tend APPEA?

There is no other event which brings to­gether all the in­dus­try’s movers and shak­ers for a deep dive, over three days, into the is­sues which will drive the mar­ket.

We are ex­cited to be li­ais­ing closely with our ex­hibitors for APPEA 2018, so del­e­gates can be treated to the lat­est in­no­va­tion in the in­dus­try.

Signs are that there will be some re­ally ex­cit­ing tech­nol­ogy launched and show­cased at the event. The con­fer­ence is the es­sen­tial event to meet col­leagues, do deals and learn.

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