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.