By Andrew Hobbs

WOODSIDE chief executive Peter Coleman has urged attendees of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Conference and Exhibition in Brisbane to work smarter in future projects.

Mr Coleman pointed to the $200 billion figure that is often cited for investment in liquefied natural gas over the past ten years – saying it was not something to be proud of.

“While we may wax lyrical over the $200 billion, it actually started as $100 billion and became $200 billion,” he said.

“We have delivered a very expensive energy source and we can’t forget that we didn’t deliver on our promise.”

Mr Coleman said the oil and gas industry had been “out to lunch”, with its complacency helping to drive demand for other fossil fuels.

“We were taking years to build our projects and we became too expensive, we allowed the opposition, the competition, to take our place,” he said.

“The fact that gas holds such a low percentage of fossil fuel usage today is (due to) our complacency.”

Mr Coleman said he hoped the industry would be able to phase its developments and commoditise its technology more rapidly, saying the oil and gas industry usually reinvented itself every eight to ten years – compared to the two years it would normally take other industries.

“The people stopping the evolution of this industry are not the regulators, we can’t blame the customers, and it is definitely not the community… I call on you to make that change,” he said.

“Simply surviving is not an option because next year is not guaranteed. We must change.

The opportunity is in front of us and we need to grasp the opportunity.”

“Go back, challenge your organisations and challenge your engineers. There is something wrong here,” he said.

Specifically, Mr Coleman said he hoped future LNG plants would be more compact and could be built in half the time, more quickly and more efficiently – using 3D printing, wireless controls and predictive analysis.

“The LNG plant of the future will be self-monitoring, self-improving and compact. It will be pre-fabricated and commissioned off site and we will plug it in,” he said.

Mr Coleman said Woodside had doubled the budget of its research and development arm in early 2015, as oil prices started to fall.

“Who wants to do research and development when oil prices are tanking? Well, we must. We must be counter cyclical… we must back ourselves,” he said.

“Across all of our projects we need to ask what does it take to make the project attractive to the customer? Then design a project to meet or exceed those requirements. Let’s earn our place.”

“We have just invested $200 billion – the work has just begun.”

Woodside and joint venture partner Mitsui E&P announced the Greater Enfield project had been approved for development in late June, after Mr Coleman’s presentation.