Last year Woodside lost out to BAE Systems for the Best Subsea Company award, a category which has been ditched this year, replaced with the Special Recognition award, for which SEA will propose and name a winner.
Last year was the first time SEA opened its awards up for industry nomination, resulting in 149 individuals logging in to nominate someone they know in the subsea industry.
Subsea and pipelines engineering consultancy SPEC, Cube Offshore and Subcon have been named as the finalists for the Innovation and Technology award for this year's awards which will be held in Perth on July 28
SPEC is also vying with Nexxis and 3D at Depth for the New Enterprise award.
The Wood Group-led Subsea Equipment Australian Reliability Joint Industry Project, which includes PTTEP along with Australian LNG operators Woodside, Inpex and Shell, is up for the Industry Collaboration award.
Also vying for that award are the GE-led light well intervention package, and the Intecsea-lead Reservoir to Market initiative.
Intervention Engineering subsea inspection engineer Sarolta Pudney, Joshua Keenan and Subcon Technologies senior project engineer Andrew Kikeros are finalists for the Emerging Talent award.
Sabavala said subsea had a "pivotal" future and was the key to unlocking significant value in upstream development portfolios.
He started his career in oil and gas some 25 years ago working for JP Kenny (now Wood Group), which was a growing design consultancy in the then-niche subsea and pipeline industry.
Since then he has amassed since a varying international career in managerial and leadership roles delivering upstream and subsea developments through the value chain of technology, concept select, front end engineering design and detailed design, and execution.
He joined Woodside in Australia 10 years ago.
"The industry is going through a significant rate of change with technology and innovation at the forefront of this transformation," he said.
"The key is how to connect what's needed in Industry with what's coming next through collaboration and technology and innovation and this is where Subsea Energy and the SEA Industry Awards play a big part in making this vital connection."
Brian Guest, a subsea engineer with BHP's Australia production unit who will judge the awards, said he had worked with a "good number" of local companies and engineers over the years whose innovative approach to solving issues large and small and providing solutions to improve subsea operations has been "world class".
Guest started in the subsea industry in 1985 in the North Sea working for Wharton Williams, and has since worked in a variety of roles since ranging from project engineer, sat diver, subsea engineering manager to consultant and has been responsible for all BHP subsea operational assets since 2004.
The other judge is National Energy Resources Australia general manager industry research and innovation Jill Stajduhar, who has led local and international businesses in the UK and Australia across multiple sector in management roles.
She said innovation was the lifeblood of all high-growth industry sectors, particularly in the subsea industry.
"Without the subsea industry there would be no oil and gas as we know it today and without the innovative leaders and scientists, past and present, this industry would never have reached the outer frontiers of deep water developments," she said.