Navigating the future of a rising industry

DEDICATED to the latest developments in and issues affecting the state’s budding CSG and LNG industry, this year’s Queensland Gas Conference and Exhibition (QGCE) will be held on September 11 and 12 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Organised by Reed Exhibitions, the event will bring together international opinion leaders, global energy market executives, governmental and regulatory body representatives, and senior decision makers from Australia’s LNG industry and its supporting infrastructure.
Backing its potential to become a major LNG exporter, Queensland currently has three approved CSG-to-LNG projects under construction and another five under review.
QGCE exhibition manager David McCarthy said the event catered specifically to what he referred to as an “extremely fast-growing industry”.
“Its primary function is to address all the issues that surround the emerging coal seam gas industry in Queensland,” he said.
“We have partnered with Energy Skills Queensland [ESQ] and the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia [PESA], both of whom are running events alongside the QGCE to create the inaugural Queensland Energy and Exploration Week.”
Mr McCarthy added that the presence of ESQ affirmed that skills shortages were one of the biggest issues facing the LNG sector.
The industry skills body promoting career pathways, jobs and workforce development for Queensland’s energy and telecommunications sectors, ESQ is hosting the 2012 ESQ Conference concurrently with QGCE on September 11.
ESQ’s conference will embrace the theme ‘Queensland’s Skilling Future: New Ideas for a Workforce Revolution’, and will feature presentations from industry leaders with insight into workforce development innovation.
Keynote presenters will discuss projects, opportunities and developments that continue to energise the industry, including the CSG-to-LNG process, the national broadband network and energy efficiency.
Meanwhile, PESA will hold the fourth Eastern Australasian Basins Symposium (EABS IV) from September 11 to 14 alongside the two events. Set to be “the resource technology event of the year”, the EABS IV website also stated that the event was expected to attract up to 400 delegates from throughout the Australasian region.
According to Mr McCarthy, EABS IV will focus on the technical aspects of the industry. “Alongside the QGCE, the EABS [IV] is a holistic opportunity for engineers, workers in the field, and C-level* executives from boardrooms all to get together,” Mr McCarthy said.
Complementing QGCE, EABS IV is aimed at geologists; geophysicists; drilling, completions, and reservoir engineers; and anyone else working in the subsurface realm of the oil and gas industry.
“All three events cater for different elements or different aspects of the industry, from senior geologists and engineers with PESA through to the skills shortages with ESQ,” Mr McCarthy said.
“The QGCE conference is designed for senior-level executives, while the exhibition provides an opportunity for any company that is either doing business or looking to do business in the industry to exhibit and showcase their products and solutions.”
According to the QGCE 2012 Exhibitor Prospectus, last year’s exhibition attracted more than 700 visitors.
This year, combined, the three events are expected to attract an audience of more than 1500 senior industry executives and decision makers offering an unprecedented mix of technical and market intelligence; employment, skills and training information; and the latest technology, products and services.
“Certainly, the main focus of the conference is discussing all of the relevant and major issues facing the industry at the moment,” Mr McCarthy said.
“[As with] any emerging industry, there are constant demands, needs and issues that arise, and with each of those, a critical need for knowledge and skills to find the solutions.
“This year’s conference will be providing a platform for discussions, the review of case studies, and networking opportunities to get a clear picture of where the industry is positioned at the moment. The exhibition will give visitors the chance to actually see, and experience some of the solutions.”
Mr McCarthy said that many 2012 exhibitors were well-established companies such as Atlas Copco, Aggreko, JJ Richards and Navitas, and there would also be a specific exhibition area for recruitment companies.
“It’s obviously a great opportunity for companies that have been trying to find a way to do business in this area [LNG and CSG]. Some of the most difficult things for companies can be simply finding out the who’s who, where the projects are, what stages they’re at, and how that effects the need for their products and services,” Mr McCarthy said.
According to the QGCE website, the 2012 conference will aim to generate debate in key areas of industry interest and concern.
It will tackle commercial, economic and political issues, and impart vital technical information to keep industry workers up to date with the latest developments.
An advisory panel of four members worked with the conference production team to help determine the most appropriate speakers and topics. The panel comprised Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise chief executive Shane Charles, Queensland Petroleum Exploration Association (QUPEX) president/Carter Newell Lawyers partner James Plumb, former QUPEX president Barbara Jinks, and University of Queensland principal research fellow in coal bed methane and geosequestration Dr Paul Massarotto.
“The function of the advisory panel is two-fold; they helped us ensure the conference program we’ve released for 2012 is providing the most relevant and up-to-date topics and
that it addresses the very real and current issues facing the CSG industry. They’ve also assisted in recruiting industry specialists to the QGCE speaker panel to address each of
the issues,” Mr McCarthy said.
Mr Charles will deliver an overview of the roles and responsibilities of the Gasfields Land and Water Commission, examining the terms of reference for the commission, a preview of the legislative framework, and an update on the implementation of the commission.
Mr Plumb, meanwile, will present ‘Regulatory Hurdles Facing the CSG Sector: the Liberal National Party’s Approach’, providing an update on and review of the new State Government’s position in respect to key regulatory issues facing the upstream CSG sector in Queensland.
“It’s not [just] two days of industry project updates: the conference is providing information on exactly where the industry is at this stage and addressing the issues it faces,” Mr McCarthy said.
Additional speakers include ESQ chief executive Glenn Porter, Sigra managing director Dr Ian Gray, and Queensland Energy and Water Supply minister Mark McArdle.
Also the QGCE executive committee chairperson, in the QGCE brochure, Ms Jinks said it had been an interesting year for Queensland CSG.
“Over the past 12 months we have seen a rapid change in the CSG-LNG landscape: a new government in Queensland that has introduced the new Gasfields Commission, with last year’s presenter, John Cotter, appointed as first commissioner; the imminent introduction of a carbon tax; and the major CSG-LNG projects progressing from the early conceptual/FEED stagesinto more developed implementation with significant associated workforce and resource needs. Without question, the Queensland CSG industry is proving to be a challenging prospect for even the most seasoned executive.”
Ms Jinks said the QGCE program was designed to assist middle and senior level executives in the CSG and LNG sectors in understanding how to successfully navigate these challenges.
“With a speaker panel replete with senior executives from across the industry, the event is designed to impart practical knowledge to assist you to grow your business and avoid disastrous pitfalls,” she said.
Industry Capability Network [ICN] general manager Peter Robinson will also speak at the 2012 conference, during a session titled ‘Expanding the Services Sector Supporting CSG-LNG’.
“The ICN is another initiative that’s basically a link or a gateway for companies who are looking to do business in this space. Their website provides a gateway to information on projects and the tender process, and so on,” Mr McCarthy said.
He added that the session would provide an overview of what was being done to stimulate sufficient growth in the industry to service CSG-to-LNG projects.
Mr McCarthy said he was confident QGCE would expand in coming years.
“CSG-LNG in Australia is an absolutely huge emerging market, and there’s going to be unparalleled opportunities now and certainly in the future, so I definitely see this event growing with the industry,” Mr McCarthy said.
“It’s still young: there’s still a long way to go and it’s exciting to be involved in it. The key is to work with the industry to provide the most up-to-date, relevant information and solutions, and work alongside industry associations.”
Mr McCarthy said that the most exciting aspect of QGCE for him was working with ESQ and PESA.
“The current issues and drivers for the industry are skills shortages, technology and providing companies with a way to do business in the sector. Over the course of the three events, we cover all those bases,” he said.
*Note: C-level executives refers to top-level job positions within a company or organisation

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