By Sarah Byrne

KICKING off on 17 May, the 55th Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) conference and exhibition is set to discuss significant issues in oil and gas, with the theme “Fulfilling Our Potential” setting the tone for the three days of presentations and panel discussions at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition centre.

In a statement, APPEA said the event “will have a major focus on the global dynamics of the international LNG market, plus expert analysis of prospects for oil and gas exploration in Australia and globally.”

Keynote speeches from 24 industry representatives and more than 110 technical and business presentations will be seen over three days, with 3,000 attendees expected, APPEA said.

Speaking with Oil & Gas Australia, Angus Jones, partner at international law firm Allen & Overy said “The impact of the sharp drop in the oil price is certainly going to be a common topic discussed at the APPEA conference this year, as well as the impact of changes in LNG markets, including lower LNG pricing and changing demand.”

“Delegates at the conferences, and indeed the global industry, will also be keenly awaiting the final costs and updates on the technical success for the Prelude project as an indicator of the future for floating LNG,” Mr Jones said.

BHP Billiton petroleum and potash president Tim Cutt will give the opening industry address where he will speak about the need to balance growth and productivity and the challenge of developing oil and gas in a changing marketplace, APPEA said in a statement.

Following on from Mr Cutt’s opening address is a panel discussion between Woodside Energy managing director Peter Coleman, managing director of QGC Mitchell Ingram, Santos managing director David Knox and the US oil and gas leader of Deloitte John England.

Facilitated by Jonathan Stern the chairman of the Natural Gas Research Program and a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, the panel will discuss pricing, geopolitics and potential changes in the Asian gas markets, APPEA said.

Chevron managing director Roy Krzywosinski will present on the final day of the conference and will address the theme of “Mega-Projects in Transition”, APPEA said.

Several networking events and activities for those attending the APPEA conference and exhibition will be held from 17 May, with the final event, a golf tournament held on 21 and 22 May.

Speaking more broadly about the industry, Mr Jones said “The upcoming completion of a number of Australian LNG projects, combined with broader market factors are likely to lead to further challenges and potential deferral of greenfields projects such as Browse, Scarborough, Bonaparte and Sunrise, and possibly highlight the potential for brownfields developments, such as additional trains at Wheatstone and Gorgon, or third party gas opportunities at Darwin LNG.”

“I’m hopeful for pick up in mergers and acquisitions activity for the second half of this year as those with funds or funding avenues take advantage of value opportunities – early movers who are brave enough could make very attractive countercyclical plays as the next 12-18 months are likely to be fairly unique,” he said.