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Under the breathtaking Brisbane sky, the 2019 APPEA Conference launched today with a lens that was well and truly focused on the future. As the anchor and theme to a three-day conference fuelled by powerful commentary and speakers, Navigating the Future perfectly positions what every attendee, leader and organisation needs to consider.
If we rewind briefly to the Welcome Conference Launch Dinner last night, you could definitely feel the spirit of the future in the air. With a kaleidoscope of colour, activity and conversation across the floor, it was clear that the future and what it represents is something everyone is keeping top of mind.
Fast forward to today and we can see that talking about the future brings optimism, energy and enthusiasm – and this has permeated the entire conference setting, from the exhibition hall to the plenary sessions and more. With over 2,200 delegates and more than 150 exhibitors, the 59th APPEA Conference is a powerhouse of energy insights.
From international experts to Australian business leaders, Day One has brought the future into focus – through captivating case studies, opinions, technical analysis and industry commentary. A common thread has been the fact that it’s time for organisations to ask a myriad of questions and seek out a diversity of answers and solutions.
Based on all the speakers and presenters from Day One, here are five key questions, summarised below – for every leader and reader to explore:
#1 What story can we tell?
We are all ambassadors for the future of our industry. Built on trust, collaboration, growth, sustainability and relevance – there’s a powerful energy story for us all to tell.
In having this conversation – across our teams, organisations, internally and externally – there is a bright future for us all to play a part in as we vocalise and convey with pride, the incredible work being done across the energy landscape.
Our future can be focused on inspiring the next generation of leaders, employees and thinkers – collectively outlining the opportunities that the future represents. This year APPEA is supporting Blaze Aid – a volunteer-based organisation that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires and floods. Working alongside the rural families, volunteers help to rebuild fences and other structures that have been damaged or destroyed. Being a source of support within our communities is a vital part in the story we tell.
Our story also needs to also be anchored in diversity and the way in which we reflect the communities in which we work, live and play. This week is National Reconciliation Week – bringing to life key themes grounded in truth, courage and conversation – a vital part of our story.
#2 How can we gain a competitive edge?
The world is rapidly changing. There’s a continued rise in the global population – with estimates of around 8.6 billion people by 2030 and 9.8 billion by 2050. More than half the world’s people are middle class and they want modern conveniences. It’s therefore clear that the global demand for energy will continue to grow. And the key will be to remain competitive.
Australia is perfectly positioned – poised to jump on the current opportunities – in order to gain a competitive edge. It can be seen that gas and LNG are in demand to replace other sources – reducing pollution and the global footprint.
To attract capital, one needs to compete on price, timeliness and financial returns. Project design and construction is also vital on reducing cost. The overall industry is looking at technological improvements, maintenance and turn-around times – with a clear indicator that time is money.
As state of the art software and data storage platforms continue to emerge, the power of data analytics and gaining a competitive edge might move front and centre.
We need to collectively think ahead, plan ahead and drive confidence in future investments.
#3 How can we drive change?
It was mentioned during today’s presentations that we are still going through an energy identity crisis at times. Our place in society can no longer be taken for granted. In order to drive real change we all need to work together.
The time has come to start navigating the future in order to drive Australia’s long term prosperity. As we collectively navigate issues from carbon to climate change, employment to the environment and more, there are many stakeholders to consider and multiple jurisdictions to keep in mind.
We can drive change and make an impact by building continued trust – for the benefit of customers, investors and the nation. It was mentioned that it’s vital to consider: not only what we do, but how we do it. Our performance and our behaviours come from our values.
How do we act when no one is watching? This is what defines our character.
#4 How can we unlock opportunity?
When change is the only constant, we need to be agile, transformative and flexible.
Australia can certainly prosper and progress by using its energy resources wisely and leveraging the energy opportunities we have as an industry, right now. There is much for this industry to be proud of – employing thousands of people, contributing billions to communities and supporting grassroots organisations.
Presenters mentioned that not many industries can look forward to growth like we have. Suppliers and producers will need to continue to work collaboratively and together.
Opportunity is certainly there for the taking.
#5 What’s our roadmap?
It’s a collective and collaborative approach.
We need to have one vision and one voice – and to use the association forums to review policies and ideas. It’s time to workshop solutions and we all have a responsibility to get involved and play an important role. It’s clear that we won’t always agree on every issue. But collectively we face many of the same challenges.
Speakers noted that momentum is gathering – from renewables to hydrocarbons and more. We know the benefits that can flow from development and opportunities, around better jobs, upskilling and building resilient communities.
The world is now truly in the age of gas. Our industry is helping to move to a transformed landscape.
There are lots of questions to ask and many solutions to workshop.
The future will be paved by the decisions of today. Balance is crucial as we walk the energy tightrope. The entire industry has a role to play in order to unlock our natural advantage – and social licence is absolutely critical.
For Australia, the time is now to lead the way on the local and global energy stage.