The Energy Transition - Challenges and Opportunities for the Oil and Gas Industry and its Professionals


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Energy is fundamental to our way of life, but the way we are using it today is not sustainable if we want to minimize emissions and the impacts of climate change. The question many communities, organisation and countries are asking is “can we and will we change our energy mix fast enough to achieve IPCC goals of net zero emissions by early in the second half of this century, which is just 30 years away?”

In 2021, we are starting from a difficult position. Today, about 80% of our global energy comes from fossil fuels. Even if we can accelerate to meet the most aggressive climate goals, it may still take another 20 years for renewable energy sources to achieve a 30% market share.

Underpinning current thinking and strategies are several observations:

First, that a dramatic energy transition is occurring as we speak, due to a recognition of the need for change, and the rapidly falling cost of renewable technologies.

Second, while renewable forms of energy are growing rapidly, it is from a very small base, while at the same time, our overall consumption of energy is growing from an exceptionally large base.

Third, the public often confuse power, or electrical energy, with energy in general. Minimising fossil fuel use in power generation is economically sensible and an important early step towards decarbonizing other sectors such as light passenger transport. However, today only ~42% of our energy use is in the form of electricity, so decarbonising other sectors such as steelmaking, cement production, petrochemicals, industrial heat, and aviation, for example, is much more difficult.

Fourth, there will always be an economic overlay to how we progress. In the end, these alternate forms of low-emissions technologies need to be economically competitive

although with the assistance of carbon pricing, tariffs and other incentives and penalties as they evolve.

Fifth. We will not eliminate all sources of carbon from our energy system by 2050, so we will need to capture and store carbon as well, for example in underground geological storage sites, and in the soil, and possibly even direct CO2 capture from the air, if we are to attain net zero emissions.

Sixth. Fossil fuels with CCS also have the potential to lower the cost of producing low- emissions hydrogen, which will help the growth of the hydrogen economy, which in turn will speed up the decarbonization process in the more difficult industrial areas.

Most governments, industry and scientific advisory bodies agree that all reasonable avenues need to be pursued, since to achieve our goals we will need all the tools available to us. That includes eliminating most fossil fuels from electricity, maintaining the nuclear industry, developing the electric car fleet, and starting to build the hydrogen economy. We will also need to produce heat and synthetic fuels from biomass, perform soil carbon storage, plant forests, and even do direct air capture of CO2.

For the young petroleum geoscientist, there is still important work to do which will extend throughout your career and well beyond, but the nature of that work is likely to transition over time. Companies will adapt to a low carbon future, for example by expanding into electricity, or hydrogen, or synthetic fuel generation, or by undertaking CCS. Companies will cut their emission intensity by using less fossil fuels themselves, and by combining their petroleum business with renewable power. Depending on their skills and assets, they may build offshore wind farms, or generate solar power in the outback, or store CO2 for themselves and others, make blue hydrogen from their gas, or synthesise biofuels in their refineries. All of this will take us well into the second half of this century.

It is a fascinating journey we are on.

Your Instructor

Peter Moore, PhD, PESA
Peter Moore, PhD, PESA

Dr Moore has 40 years of business experience, with a focus on petroleum and energy. He has a BSc (Hons), a PhD, an MBA and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. His career commenced at the Geological Survey of Western Australia, with subsequent appointments at Delhi Petroleum Pty Ltd, Esso Australia Ltd, Exxon Exploration Company and Woodside Energy Ltd. From 2009 to 2013, Dr Moore led Woodside’s global exploration efforts as Executive Vice President Exploration. From 2014 to 2018, Dr Moore was a Professor and Executive Director of Strategic

Engagement at Curtin University’s Business School. Dr Moore is currently a Non- Executive Director of Carnarvon Petroleum Ltd, a Non-Executive Director of Beach Energy Ltd, an Adjunct Professor at Curtin University, Chair of Curtin’s Faculty of Science and Engineering Advisory Council, and a Director of the Moore family Foundation. He is also a former Director of Central Petroleum Ltd and Chair of Earth Sciences WA. Since 2014, he has provided executive education relating to energy to governments and industry via APPEA and Informa. Dr Moore has his own consulting company, Norris Strategic Investments Pty Ltd, and his latest project has been to provide executive education relating to the broad topic of energy and the energy transition.