- Main theme: Energy Transition: The Path to Net Zero.
- Will address the challenges of transitioning to a low carbon future.
Barry Blacklock, EnergiesNet
Energiesnet.com 08 04 2023
Canada is hosting the 24th World Petroleum Congress (24WPC), from September 17 through September 21, 2023 in Calgary, Alberta. Although the congress is a triennial event, 24WPC is being held less than two years since the 23rd congress was held in Houston, Texas in December 2021, after it had been postponed for over a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The congress is organized by WPC Energy, the new name effective July 2023 of the World Petroleum Council, which has been a leading organization within the global energy sector since 1933, with a membership of over sixty countries representing 95% of total worldwide consumption and production of oil and gas.
WPC Energy’s re-branding combines a new logo with the tagline “The World Forum for Energy Transformation,” demonstrating an expansion from its traditional focus on the oil and gas industry to being a leader in the global transition to a low-carbon energy system based on a diverse and sustainable mix of energy sources.
The theme of the last congress was the development of innovative solutions to provide scalable, customizable, and sustainable energy for the world. That goal has been drastically altered due to the success of the international anti-fossil fuel lobby’s efforts, intensifying since mid-2021, to shut down the industry.
Those efforts have pressured the international investment community to limit investments to companies compliant with what many in the industry consider highly restrictive Environmental Social Governance (ESG) guidelines. The resulting drop in activity in the Canadian industry was reflected in the reduced numbers of exhibitors and attendees at Calgary’s Global Energy Show, previously called the Global Petroleum Show, in June.
Reduced access to financing has also been the primary reason for shrinking membership in the Canadian Global Energy Forum, triggering its name change from the Canadian Global Exploration Forum, to diversify from focusing on international oil and gas exploration and production by attracting members from other energy industry sectors.
In keeping with WPC Energy’s new focus and recognition of the new environment the energy industry is operating in, the theme of 24WPC is “Energy Transition: The Path to Net Zero.”
24WPC is Being Held During a Time of Chaotic Change
2023 is the second time the congress has been held in Calgary. The theme of the 16th WPC in June 2000 was “Petroleum for Global Development: Networking People, Business and Technology to Create Value.” It seems a little mundane today!
24WPC is being held during growing global concerns about the frequency and severity of weather events, including heat waves affecting much of the world’s population. Canada, in particular, is experiencing an unprecedented forest fire season nationwide, intensifying the concerns of people in more populated parts of Eastern Canada and the Northeast U.S. as they began to see and smell evidence of those fires in their skies.
At the same time, the country is experiencing disastrous flooding in Nova Scotia, a destructive tornado and the threat of drought in Alberta, and similar issues in other provinces and territories. Worldwide, similar extreme weather events provide climate activists with more ammunition as they attribute the ‘climate crisis’ to burning fossil fuels.
Industry geoscientists argue that the human race has not caused the crisis, pointing to geological evidence gleaned during many years of oil and gas exploration that our earth has experienced many warming and cooling periods over billions of years.
Regardless of who is right in this debate, the Canadian industry has been pivoting to develop and apply more green, clean, and renewable energy technologies to produce sustainable energy. A prime example is the Pathways Alliance, formed by the six companies that operate about 95% of Canada’s much-maligned oil sands production to use Carbon Capture and Storage to help them achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Entrepreneurial teams are applying their proven management skills to conceptualizing, testing, piloting, and commercializing decarbonization and zero-emission technologies. The crop of new companies they are creating is bolstered by the technical support of organizations such as the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC), Alberta Innovates, and the Saskatchewan Research Council.
Funding programs have been created by the federal and Alberta provincial governments to soften the blow for the industry as it transforms, including Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) and Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN). Many Canadian companies are also applying for financial support from the Inflation Reduction Act in the U.S.
Generating Synergies and Promoting Collaboration
24WPC will provide delegates with a platform for sharing technical innovations, scientific developments, and thought leadership via comprehensive strategic and technical programmes and an accompanying exhibition. They aim to generate synergies and promote collaboration in the ongoing global transition to Net Zero in 2050. The Strategic Programme consists of three main sessions:
- During the Plenary Sessions, delegates will engage in fourteen presentations, starting with ‘Energy Transition: The Path to Net Zero.’ They will discuss technology’s role, energy security concerns, industry transformations, and energy accessibility and affordability. Highlights include the impact of digital transformation on achieving Net Zero, UNFC / UNECE’s role, and energy security’s threat to the energy transition.
- The Strategic Sessions include sixteen presentations on topics ranging from market dynamics for petrochemicals, hydrogen’s role in energy transition, challenges in R&D, the impact of renewables, and energy security to consumer trends, social responsibility, Carbon Dioxide Utilization, economic reconciliation efforts, progress towards COP 28, and combating energy poverty. Insights will shape future energy policy and practice.
- The Canada Session has six presentations. It begins with a keynote address by Mr. Peter Tertzakian, an internationally recognized expert in the energy industry, on ‘Lessons and Thoughts on Alberta’s Energy Transitions.’ The topics for the remaining presentations include sustainable solutions, a globally applicable industrial innovation and decarbonization model, collaboration in CCUS projects, industry-community relationships, and financing Canada’s energy transformation.
The Technical Programme will allow authors to share their insights through presented papers or as posters in the digital poster plaza on the exhibition floor. The programme is divided into four blocks with a total of seventeen technical forums:
- Transition in Exploration and Production – encompasses five forums covering a range of topics, including identifying new supply sources to meet global energy demand, cleaner production methods, sustainable strategies for maximizing resource recovery, carbon capture and storage, and the role of new technologies in geoscience.
- Transition in Refining, Petrochemicals, and Products – introduces four forums centred on reducing carbon footprints in these industries, including CO2 utilization and removal in products and processes, emission reduction and recycling in refining and petrochemical facilities, the development of cleaner fuels, and innovations in product development.
- Transition in Gas and Transportation – features four forums exploring smart infrastructure, innovations in Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and Floating LNG (FLNG) technologies to aid the energy transition, efforts to achieve zero methane emissions, and the emerging generation, distribution, and uses of hydrogen.
- Leadership Challenges in the Transition – composed of four forums delving into safety and risk management challenges, the critical importance of cybersecurity, the need for upskilling and reskilling the workforce for the evolving energy landscape, and fostering innovation and partnerships in supply chains to aid the transition.
24WPC’s accompanying exhibition will showcase the technologies, products, and innovative services of over two hundred and fifty national and international exhibitors. Space is allocated to the National Committees for WPC member countries, and over fifty national oil companies will participate in the exhibition.
The exhibition will include the Carbon Tech Expo, promoting ideas, prototypes, and commercial products for developing cleantech solutions from the private, public, and academic spheres. The Digital Poster Plaza will provide space for poster presentations from many of the participants in the Technical Programme.
The exhibition will also feature Canada House, where delegates can meet with federal government agencies, provincial governments, and non-governmental companies and organizations active in the Canadian energy sector. A separate Social Responsibility Pavilion focuses on the participation of women, upcoming young generations, and indigenous people in the industry.
As distractions from more serious themes during 24WPC, delegates will have many opportunities to network and enjoy Canadian and Calgarian hospitality, beginning with the Opening Ceremony and Reception. Canada Night will feature an exciting performance by Cirque du Soleil, a Calgary Stampede-inspired Western Rodeo Performance, and an evening featuring other unique aspects of Canadian Heritage. The Closing Ceremony will include a passing of the torch to Saudi Arabia as the host for 25WPC.
Note: This was the first of articles commissioned by EnergiesNet to promote the 24th World Petroleum Congress. It will be followed by a second article focusing on specific technologies and the companies developing them, including feedback obtained during interviews with key players in the Canadian industry.
EnergiesNet.com 08 04 2023