By Andrew Hobbs, Group Editor

CHANGE is in the air for the oil and gas industry as prices remain low and companies settle in for an extended period of lower oil and gas prices.

Data recently published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts an average Brent crude oil price of US$40 per barrel for 2016, though this was likely to rise to US$50 per barrel by 2017.

Yet according to the International Energy Agency, Australian LNG exports are set to triple by 2019-2020, when the nation is expected to eclipse Qatar as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

The commencement of production from Australia’s east coast LNG projects, the most recent being the Australia Pacific LNG project, has contributed heavily to this increase.

West coast projects Gorgon, Wheatstone and Prelude, not to mention Ichthys off the Northern Territory, are also expected to add to this total in 2016 and 2017.

Australian workers who have dedicated their careers to helping get these projects off the ground can be proud of their stellar achievements so far, and it is to be hoped that these skills will be transferrable to new opportunities both in Australia and around the world.

Whether it is relocating to another country to work for a period of time, or selling products developed for Australian conditions to new and emerging fields, the opportunities afforded to these professionals are profound, so long as the oil price is sufficiently strong to sustain them.

Right now, with prices in the doldrums and companies across the globe seeking to delay new activity, Australian companies and innovators have a golden opportunity to use recent experience to develop more efficient ways of doing business.

Whether this is finding ways to do more with less, developing new ways to train and sustain staff or new ways of processing data, there is willingness to foster new approaches and locally-based talent that is not being used to its full potential.

The annual Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference, for which Oil & Gas Australia is producing its regular supplement, showcases some of the innovative thinking of which the Australian industry can be rightly proud.

But there is always more to come, and recent circumstances provide Australian industry professionals with the chance to design new features at home, before an eager global industry lures them away.

**As the oil and gas industry changes, so will Oil & Gas Australia, with a variety of new features planned for the magazine this year.

Readers will notice that some of our regular features have moved, while we experiment with the addition of some new ones.

We look forward to working with industry as these changes take effect across 2016, our 35th year of publication.