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The Southern Hemisphere’s biggest annual oil and gas event – APPEA 2022 – brings together industry professionals from all across the world. So what’s in store for the latest instalment?

When the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) Conference and Exhibition takes place in Brisbane from May 16–19, it will do so at a crucial time for the oil and gas industry.

The Russia–Ukraine conflict has had a significant influence on the market, with global sanctions affecting oil and gas supply from one of the sector’s most prominent jurisdictions.

Yet while the discord has presented its challenges, many of these matters were already embedded in today’s oil and gas landscape.

This is what makes the APPEA Conference such an esteemed and influential event. APPEA isn’t afraid to tackle the proverbial elephant in the room, knowing that more can be gained from confronting the big issues than ignoring them.

“From an APPEA Conference point of view, it (the Russia–Ukraine conflict) doesn’t change any of the thematics that we’re running with,” APPEA chief executive Andrew McConville told Australian Resources & Investment.

“Put aside the immediacy of the conflict, the issues of access to capital … as we go through the energy transition, the role of oil and gas in ensuring energy security stability.

“These were already issues.”

APPEA brings together industry professionals from across the world.

Driven by the theme ‘Positive Energy for a Changing World’, APPEA 2022 will tap into the sector’s financial future, while the global decarbonisation imperative also looms large.

“Thematically, we are very focused on oil and gas’ investment environment this year,” McConville said.

“That’s been writ large by the unfortunate circumstances unfolding in Ukraine, but a number of those elements were already there. And related to that is the decarbonisation pathway, which was a very strong theme at last year’s conference.

“What we’re seeing in Europe we were starting to see before the (Russia–Ukraine) situation, where Europe was starting to find the transition to a lower-emissions future difficult.

“With Ukraine and Russia, that’s been magnified. So the conference represents a very important juncture to say, what is the role of oil and gas as we transition to net-zero?

“Or what is the role of oil and gas in ensuring any emissions reduction pathway minimises the impact on energy security, reliability and affordability?”

APPEA’s panel series was a huge success last year and will return in 2022. This is where the conference tackles up-and-coming or recent events with the help of expert voices.

One of the sessions will unpack the Russia–Ukraine war, while APPEA’s Energy Leaders’ Panel will see KPMG Australia Geopolitics Hub director Merriden Varrall explore the conflict in further detail.

Alongside themes of investment, decarbonisation and geopolitics, APPEA 2022 will also focus on workforce solutions and initiate dialogue around attracting, recruiting and retaining personnel. Technology and innovation will also be front and centre.

“We’ve got one exciting plenary called ‘The Shape of Things to Come’. We’ve invited original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and exploration and production (E&P) companies to give us an insight into what’s around the corner,” APPEA director of events and member relations Julie Hood told Australian Resources & Investment.

“Often attendees will see the current technology on the expo floor. But what we’ve done is nudge companies to provide insight into what’s coming because we know technology is going to play a big part in a decarbonised future.

“Attendees can expect plenty of environmentally-focused exhibitors this year. You’ve got the big players promoting how they’re innovating in that area.”

The Hydrogen Pavilion, a new addition for 2022, will showcase one of the most rapidly emerging industries in the sector. Delegates can meet, learn and conduct business with the likes of Worley, ABB Australia, Draeger, Synergen Met, and more, all of whom will be exhibiting their innovations.

Then there’s the KPMG Meeting Zone, where attendees can book ad-hoc meetings to discuss business opportunities and sign partnerships.

A jam-packed program of speakers will be attending the conference, including some of the biggest names in the business.

“We’ve got the likes of Meg O’Neill (Woodside chief executive officer), Dylan Pugh (ExxonMobil chair) and Kory Judd (Chevron Australia director of operations).

“Lucy Snelling (State Gas head of corporate and commercial) will be there. Although it’s a national conference, we thought it was important to bring in a Queensland flavour.”

Santos managing director and chief executive officer Kevin Gallagher and Shell Australia executive vice president and country chair Tony Nunan will also present.

While it’s important to prepare a program with stature, APPEA also strives to include voices geared to the present.

“One of the great things about APPEA is, yes, we can get the big names, but it’s more important to get the relevant names,” McConville said.

“I’d much rather have someone who’s able to talk about our industry in depth and add value than have someone who reads a speech developed by the corporate affairs department and is a bit bland and vanilla.

“So what we try and do is not always go for big name X. But it might be big firm X, but the person in big firm X who has a more specialised take on a topic.

“That’s a slightly different take on the way we do things, but it’s important people get information they can use, as opposed to some sort of corporate presentation.”

There are networking opportunities aplenty at APPEA.

APPEA 2022 will be presented in a hybrid format, ensuring those who can’t attend in-person can still experience the conference.

Digital access will give attendees live access to the five plenary showcases, the APPEA panel series and the acreage release session. All other APPEA 2022 sessions will be made available 48 hours later and for a month following the event.

As the oil and gas industry navigates uncertain times, the APPEA Conference and Exhibition provides the perspective and insight needed to translate challenges into opportunities.

A conference for industry by industry, APPEA returns as one of the most important dates on the 2022 oil and gas calendar.

“It’s about addressing the real issues impacting our industry, with access to the best people who know the most about the issues,” McConville said.

“Every year, I’ve thrown down the gauntlet to the team and said, ‘How can we do it different and how can we make the experience even better?’, and every year the team rises to the occasion.

“It’s the biggest event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. There is nowhere else you can get what you get at APPEA, so we’re extraordinarily proud of it.”

The APPEA 2022 Conference and Exhibition is presented alongside principal partners, Woodside and ExxonMobil.

Full information and registration available at www.appeaconference.com.au.

This feature appeared in the April issue of Australian Resources & Investment.

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