Slugcatcher says APPEA needs a makeover (and new name) 

BEFORE the annual conference of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association starts in Perth this week Slugcatcher has a suggestion for the organisers; it’s time to change APPEA’s name because it is on the wrong side of history.
Slugcatcher says APPEA needs a makeover (and new name)  Slugcatcher says APPEA needs a makeover (and new name)  Slugcatcher says APPEA needs a makeover (and new name)  Slugcatcher says APPEA needs a makeover (and new name)  Slugcatcher says APPEA needs a makeover (and new name) 

Slugcatcher

 
A better name would be the Australian Energy Producers Association (AEPA) with the switch opening the door to new energy players such as those in the battery metals business.
 
The irony of the name-change suggestion is that the major participants at this week's conference were once battery metal producers until they decided that the future was fossil fuels and mining metals clashed with the culture of pumping liquids.
 
History, as mentioned earlier, has judged that to be an unfortunate narrowing of the business base and certainly not one that can be called future facing.
 
Pressure on oil, gas and coal, the unloved energy troika which has powered the world for more than a century, is mounting by the day with the screws likely to tighten further in the aftermath of a rival, recently concluded, conference on the other side of the world.
 
Leaders of the western world gathered in Cornwall over the weekend at the G7 conference with a hot issue on the agenda being climate change, a pet topic of the green-leaning President of the US, Joe Biden, and the equally green Prime Minister of Britain, Boris Johnson.
 
Biden, Johnson and the rest of the gang at the G7 meeting were determined to promote renewable energy as the best way to tackle climate change, and that means marginalising (at best) or demolishing (at worst) the oil and gas industry.
 
APPEA, to be fair, is aware of the challenge for its industry and has a number of sessions at its conference dealing with energy transition, carbon dioxide management and mastering the element some people see as the zero-pollution gas of the future, hydrogen.
 
But on balance the bulk of the conference will be taken up by talks about the basics of oil and gas; how to discover it, how to develop it and how to decommission old facilities. All worthy topics, but all which also had a place on APPEA conference programs 20 years ago.
 
The closest the four-day event gets to the future is when talk turns to hydrogen and energy transition and it's not a surprise to see that the company sponsoring the energy transition session at the conference is a company which already has a foot in the world of new energy.
 
BHP, the last of the big mining companies to persevere with an oil division, is also a world-class producer of copper and nickel, two of the key ingredients in batteries, as well as uranium as a by-product from its Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.
 
Oil and that other troublesome fossil fuel, coal, are very much in the naughty corner at BHP which is keen to trim its exposure to please major investors and government.
There are two other issues for APPEA delegates to consider as they mull The Slug's suggestion of a name change to AEPA.
 
The first is that a simpler name almost returns the organisation to its roots when it was simply called APEA, the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association.
 
The second is that after delegates have gone home there will be an event on the Australian Securities Exchange which hammers home the point about being on the right side of history and how one of today's oil industry leaders could have been a new energy leader but for a wrong turn in the 1990s.
 
29Metals, a new company with an old copper mine as its flagship asset, is scheduled to make its ASX debut next week (Wednesday, June 23).
 
Golden Grove is the mine returning to the ASX after a turbulent past that has seen multiple ownership changes and while APPEA delegates might be inclined to say "so what" they ought to pause for a minute and learn something.
 
It was back in 1971 when a much younger Slug attended a media conference called by a company called Aztec Metals to announce the discovery of Golden Grove in WA which was rich in copper, zinc and other metals.
 
The discovery was a triumph for a young geologist called Josh Pitt, but it was also an asset in which Esso Australia, a branch of what later became Exxon Mobil, had a 35% stake.
 
Exxon was not alone in having a metals division. BP was in at the discovery of Olympic Dam and Shell had its Billiton mineral arm.
 
Some readers might remember when The Slug dredged up the oil + minerals history just over 12 months ago in which it was suggested that the future of energy was more about minerals such as lithium, nickel, copper and cobalt and less about oil and gas.
 
And now we have the fabulous timing of oil executives gathering to discuss less than riveting topics such as decommissioning old projects while a bunch of miners celebrate the re-launch of an old but future facing copper mine that was once part owned by an oil company.