Live from AOG 2015: Opening plenary session optimistic about WA’s place in gas future

AOG 2015's opening plenary session 'New Thinking for Australian Oil & Gas'.

AOG 2015's opening plenary session 'New Thinking for Australian Oil & Gas'.

The Australasian Oil and Gas (AOG) Exhibition and Conference 2015 kicked off with an opening plenary session that featured the likes of Chevron’s Richard Hinkley, Shell’s Neil Gilmour and Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi.

The opening plenary session ‘New Thinking for Australian Oil & Gas’ was chaired by Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Western Australia Chief Executive Deidre Willmott.

“AOG 2014 attracted 12,000 unique visitors last year, and this year promises to be bigger and better,” Ms Scaffidi said.

She said Perth’s central position which rendered it only four hours away from the Middle Eastern hub of the energy industry as well as the fact that Perth-based businesses could liaise with European companies in the same business day were significant advantages for businesses looking to operate in the capital city.

WA Minister for Commerce Michael Mischin emphasised this strategic advantage and AOG’s important role in his keynote opening address.

“Some say Perth is the Houston of the Southern hemisphere; I prefer to think of it as the Venice of the Indian Ocean. WA’s offshore and onshore areas have attracted 62 per cent of national petroleum exploration and at a national level, WA remains the country’s foremost petroleum producer, with LNG the most valued product.

“Last year, AOG attendees generated $443 million of business leads through attending the conference.”

Nearly every opening plenary session speaker touched on the tough realities brought on by the plummeting oil prices, but were positive about the industry’s ability to withstand the cyclical comedown.

“I won’t speculate about how long the oil prices will be down, but the way the industry reacts as a whole will be a very important indicator,” Aurecon Industry Director – Energy Victor Young said.

As for the future outlook of the sector, Chevron Perth Global Technology Centre Manager Richard Hinkley said now is the time for gas operators to innovate in technology.

“We expect LNG demand to double by 2025, and we think Australia will meet this demand. This is the time for technology. Although it may seem obvious, 60 per cent of LNG project costs are plant costs.

“When we flash forward, it’s not about replacing people but about using technology to increase performance.”

Shell Vice President of Development in the Global Integrated Gas Business Neil Gilmour said natural gas has never been as poised to play as big a role in the world’s future energy mix as it is now.

“Natural gas is uniquely positioned to meet challenges of policymakers. There is an extraordinary transformation as people move from rural villages to cities, and coal is expected to meet 40 to 50 per cent of this demand in the future, although I think the cleaner burning natural gas will emerge as a real alternative,” Mr Gilmour said.

Gilmour advised natural gas operators to look for more innovative ways to manage capital and operational costs, and develop partnerships; the core of building successful long-term opportunities.

To learn more about what is happening at AOG 2015, visit aogexpo.com.au and follow us on Twitter for daily updates at @GasToday

Enter your details to subscribe to the free fortnightly Gas Today e-newsletter

Thank you for signing up for the Gas Today Online Update.