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March 07, 2019
The future of Australia's oil & gas industry
By: Christophe Bourdeau

In November last year, Australia overtook Qatar for the first time as the world's biggest LNG exporter. For the Australian energy sector, it was a watershed development—and provided a confidence-boosting backdrop to this year’s Australasian Oil & Gas (AOG) exhibition & conference in Perth, in March 2019.

This is the second year Accenture has taken a presence at AOG. And in my view, this year’s event comes at a defining moment for the industry: one that presents a golden opportunity to shape the future of Australia’s oil & gas sector, by applying digital technologies to transform its performance in multiple dimensions.

Why the opportunity—and why now? Australia has become the world leader in LNG, but its energy sector is still developing and maturing. Huge investments have been made and gas production is ramping up. But the industry still faces the challenge of a relatively small pool of talent in Western Australia—talent for which mining companies are competing hard—and rapidly changing job specifications under the impact of advances in digital technologies.

What’s more, now is the time when companies need to start generating real returns from the investments already sunk. And start planning out their next phase of development to maintain their growth curve.

Addressing all these challenges at once demands transformation. And as the industry gains critical mass, we believe energy companies in Australia are ideally placed to harness the full potential of Industry X.0—a new path identified by Accenture to transform industrial businesses digitally through smart, connected and living technologies.

The results of Industry X.0 across all industries include increased agility and innovation, which in turn drive greater efficiency and speed. But the unique nature of oil & gas means Industry X.0 also offers them a more industry-specific transformation opportunity: the ability to achieve “Triple Zero”—zero harm, zero loss and zero waste.

Delivering against Triple Zero will position the energy industry in Australia for a successful and sustainable future in which it fuels growth and help Australia prosper. Drilling down into the three elements, they are:

  • Zero harm — ensuring all employees and contractors are safe and secure at all times in all contexts.
  • Zero loss — avoiding loss of production and maintaining throughput by being nimble, agile and resilient.
  • Zero waste — managing and minimising environmental and social impacts to maintain the industry’s licence to operate.

As the schematic below shows, new disruptive technologies are creating transformation opportunities that put all three elements within companies’ grasp. And they’re doing this as shifting commercial and technological realities redefine the industry’s long—held fundamentals:

  • Keeping the workforce safe
  • Protecting the environment
  • Building trust in the community
  • Attracting and retaining the best talent
  • Achieving world-class operations
  • Executing and sustaining growth

It was with these goals in mind that we set our objective for this year’s AOG event: to showcase proven technologies that companies can apply to realise the benefits of Industry X.0 and progress towards Triple Zero. Technologies like augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), digital worker, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. And we’ve supplemented these demonstrations with interactive sessions, providing attendees with first-hand experience in “design thinking” to apply the technologies, and expert-led drill-downs into their future potential.

Throughout, one message is clear. The technologies to deliver Industry X.0 and achieve Triple Zero are here and available today. We’re not talking about what companies could or will do in the future—but what they can do on Monday morning.

Put simply, it’s time to transform. And create the future of oil & gas in Australia.

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