Woodside chief executive officer Peter Coleman wants the oil and gas sector to avoid heading in the same direction as the cigarette industry by taking action on climate change.
Coleman reinforced the roles that science, technology and innovation will play in this effort at a panel discussion this week.
Touching on how top-notch talent only wants to work for an industry that has a bright future, Coleman said Woodside was harnessing “advanced technologies” to establish a dynamic and future-focussed company.
In the panel discussion on Monday, Coleman highlighted the company’s ambitions to be part of a solution.
“If we are going to attract and retain the smartest staff, we need to show we are serious about taking action on climate change,” Coleman said.
“We support the transition to a lower carbon future and intend to play a role in it. We are not the cigarette industry and do not want to be viewed as such. And that is a very real risk if we do not take action now.”
Due to climate change issues, Coleman said the oil and gas industry should be ready to implement “climate friendly products” and develop “resources in a way that is carbon-efficient as possibly”.
“The world needs the energy resources we produce,” Coleman said. “Natural gas must play a growing role in the years ahead, displacing higher emissions fuel, if the world is to have a chance of meeting the Paris Agreement targets.”
Coleman said the current approach from the oil and gas industry in regard to science, technology and innovation has been “very focussed on oil and gas-specific technologies”.
He believes the challenge for traditional providers of technology and R&D is that the product lines are becoming more and more commoditised.
“The focus is now on data and communications and the tools available for connecting with employees, customers and others. It’s all about capturing the wealth of data that already exists in our organisations and utilising it to drive efficiency,” Coleman said.
“Our access to the cloud, through broad-based providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, dramatically expands our computing capacity and the things we can do with it.”