There's no question that over the past 10 years the energy industry has faced unprecedented challenges. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, disrupted supply chains, geopolitical factors and more have combined to create an environment where VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, confusion and ambiguity) are fast becoming the norm, rather than an exception.
Yet rather than shrink from that challenge, the industry is actively stepping forward to meet it, as this year's ADIPEC demonstrated.
Given the scale and diversity of the companies, customers and talent at the conference it is clear: The energy industry is finding its voice and taking its seat at the table as the world works to address the challenges of the energy transition.
Over the past several days spent at ADIPEC, I had the privilege to meet with dozens of customers, partners and peers, and to take part in a prestigious panel discussion with Bob Dudley, Chairman of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, John Gilley, CEO of Kent, Mele Kolo Kyari, Group CEO of NNPC Ltd., and Proscovia Nabbanja, CEO of the Uganda NOC.
'Leading in the transition: the evolving role of CEOs' panel discussion during ADIPEC 2022.
Across all those conversations, a consistent message became clear - the industry must focus on confronting the dual challenge of meeting the growing demand for resources from a growing population with increasing standards of living while also addressing sustainability goals, and digitalization will play a key role.
What is changing, though, is how the industry faces those challenges. The energy transition is no longer merely a topic for discussion but a key point of activation, and is compelling the energy industry to recognize its collective responsibility as we work to fundamentally transform the global economy over the next three decades.
In coming years, the grid will expand to accommodate renewable energy sources like solar and wind, and the integration of OSI into AspenTech will allow us to thrive as the energy picture becomes more complex. An early example of that expansion came just this week, as the U.S. and UAE signed a $100 million strategic partnership deal to develop 100 gigawatts of clean energy by 2035.
The dichotomy between increasing renewable energy targets while simultaneously increasing oil production is now being addressed, with the understanding that oil and gas companies need a seat at the table. That change - the industry finding its voice - will be important in the critical decades to come. Our customers are asking us to help them reimagine their assets; the role of energy companies in that process cannot be overlooked.
Leadership remains crucial
The role of CEO remains incredibly difficult - how exactly do you design an organization that can withstand this unprecedented level of disruption? Organizational excellence, people, culture and agility will all be key.
Building those internal competencies requires serious commitments - in time, communication and a dedication to creating an environment where new technology is accepted.
In the end though, those changes will pay off in the form of corporate cultures that will be critically important to driving excellence going forward.
While many companies may have the impulse to focus on strategy as a way to navigate uncertain waters, the oil and gas industry's changing landscape will require enormous flexibility - in skills, capabilities and cultures - if companies hope to survive.
To understand the importance of culture, consider Emerson, which was this week named Oil and Gas Inclusion and Diversity Company of the Year at ADIPEC in recognition of their work to drive diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry.
Emerson's dedication to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture not only impacts the industry at large, but also ensures they are able to attract, develop and retain top talent, securing their ability to drive innovation as the workforce changes going forward.
Ultimately, the foundation of culture is purpose, and a purpose-driven workforce will be key for the future.
Emerson Automation Solutions team accept Oil and Gas Inclusion and Diversity Company of the Year award.
In just a few days, COP27 - what's been called the 'implementation COP' - will open in Egypt with an agenda dedicated not to what needs to be done, but instead to what is being done.
Fundamentally transforming an industry is never easy, and to transform one that is so integral to the modern world will be even more difficult, but the evidence is undeniable - the threat of climate change is one we all face, so we all must work toward achieving these goals, and the clock is ticking.
"We don't have 100 years to transition like we have had in the past," Bob Dudley, Chairman of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, said. "We have to do it in 20."