Fuelling Our Nation’s Energy Future – Reinventing Oil and Gas for a new purpose

Mar 10, 2020

Australia’s oil and gas industry, like its peers around the globe, is dealing with massive disruption on multiple fronts. Managing Director in Accentures oil and gas practice Chrisophe Bordeau says the pressures are compelling operators to examine their very purpose and create new business models to thrive in the future.

Author: Christophe Bourdeau, a Managing Director in Accenture’s oil and gas practice

AOG is an important annual forum for those operating in the oil and gas supply chain, bringing us all together to tackle the common issues and problems facing our industry – and collectively trying to raise the bar.

Globally, the oil and gas industry is dealing with massive disruption on multiple fronts – from increasing oil price volatility, to new and emerging digital technologies and the drive for greener and more sustainable energy.

In Australia, it’s a similar story, amid renewed debate around the role of the oil and gas industry in the nation’s recent extreme weather events, and ambitious emissions reductions targets. These pressures are compelling operators to examine their very purpose and create new business models to thrive in the future.

Accenture believes that the Western Australian energy sector can become a world leader by collectively aligning around a central purpose we refer to as ‘Triple Zero’ – zero harm, zero loss and zero waste. The industry already has many initiatives underway to drive change amid this ongoing disruption; and by focusing on its fundamental purpose, we can move rapidly and decisively towards achieving Triple Zero.

Zero Harm centres around safeguarding human health and wellbeing, particularly crucial in an industry with often hazardous working conditions. It’s also about protecting machines, assets and critical infrastructure; and building resilience against the ever-increasing threat of cyber attacks. Social trust is a key element here; again, particularly pertinent to the oil and gas sector as companies strive for responsible and transparent operations in the communities they operate in.

Zero Loss pertains to operational efficiencies and how to promote a manufacturing mindset and end to end visualisation of losses and optimisation.

Zero Waste focuses on climate, sustainability and energy/water efficiency. Circular value, and recycling and recovery of waste is already a growing area of focus for the oil and gas industry.

Through this Triple Zero lens, the oil and gas industry should focus on three key priorities:

  • Embrace next-generation digital technologies

As the oil and gas industry moves to transform at pace and scale, emerging technologies are key to unlocking this potential across the three ‘Zeros’. Critical among these are distributed ledger technology/blockchain (DLT); artificial intelligence (AI); extended reality (XR); and quantum computing—collectively known as DARQ technologies. While each is powerful individually, together they will change how the entire energy industry works.

Accenture research reveals that combining DARQ technologies could help oil and gas companies boost their market capitalisation by a massive 44 percent. Furthermore, forty-two percent of upstream and 30 percent of downstream executives expect AI to have the greatest short-term impact on their business.

  • Build the workforce of the future

Digital technologies will only ever be fully transformative through collaboration and engagement with the workforce – we call this Humachine, or human+machine, and this will make the industry smarter, safer and more sustainable, unlocking new growth for WA and Australia.

This is about redefining roles and adapting to a more digitally savvy and fluid workforce, where oil and gas workers will collaborate and co-exist with the power of machines to amplify human capabilities on the oil rig or the refinery.

Reskilling and redeploying employees for the digital age is crucial for the sector’s sustainability and growth, equipping the workforce to progress and pivot their skills in conjunction with machines in order to solve complex challenges and work more efficiently.

  • Align to stakeholder and investor concerns

Investor pressure for certainty of returns and cashflow is driving demand to maximise production from existing assets rather than open fresh frontiers. Changing their portfolios to include natural gas, electricity, biofuels and carbon capture projects will help oil companies to lower and offset emissions, while circular economy efficiencies will further help to reduce their carbon footprint.

To stay relevant and retain their license to operate, oil and gas companies must reinvent their purpose. With oil and gas industry disruption, wait and see isn’t an option. It’s time to reinvent for a decarbonised, digitalised, demand-driven future.

Accenture is located at booth R14 – we’re looking forward to speaking with our peers on how we can come together to achieve Triple Zero.

Accenture’s Innovation Hub within Perth’s Exchange Tower in the CBD works with global companies from the energy and mining sectors to drive transformation and real innovation for them to grow at pace and scale. Visit the Perth Innovation Hub website to find out more.

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