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Gas industry needs to work harder, innovate: Shell boss

 

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Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.34.57Peter Klinger – The West Australian on April 12, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden will call for his industry to work harder at cutting costs to make sure the gas sector remains competitive with coal and the fast-growing renewable energy space.

Mr van Beurden, one of the biggest names to address the LNG18 conference in Perth, is expected to tell more than 2000 delegates today his industry needs to constantly innovate, from upstream to downstream activities such as shipping and regasification.

His call comes as oil and gas companies grapple with commodity prices anchored at a decade low, a pending global LNG supply glut driven largely by new production out of Australia and increased pressure for the world to cut carbon emissions.

Although the gas industry regularly talks up its fuel’s cleaner-burning characteristics, there persists a view within and beyond the sector that it is not doing enough to market its superiority over cheaper but dirtier coal.

Addressing media yesterday, Origin Energy managing director and LNG18 national organising committee boss Grant King said gas was “critical and central” to global carbon reduction.

He pointed to gas’ “reliability” as a base load power fuel, as evidenced by its use to replace Japan’s nuclear industry post-Fukushima, and the flexibility of LNG in particular as reasons why gas’ future was buoyant.

On a day when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who last night addressed LNG18 delegates at the State Reception Centre, visited Barrow Island for a first-hand look at the Gorgon plant, Mr King said the country’s LNG hubs in the North West, Darwin and Gladstone would serve as “massive cash registers for Australia” for decades to come.

Challenges of cost and the need for more innovation and collaboration remain, as Mr van Beurden will point out today during a panel session with Chevron chief executive John Watson and Woodside Petroleum managing director Peter Coleman.

“The future of our industry is about continuous innovation,” Mr van Beurden will say.

“This is why the focus on innovation of this Australian Government is very relevant to this country’s LNG industry.

“New ways of doing business, new ways of communicating, new ways of doing science, they can’t do without energy.”

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