Conference Programme

09 - 12 September 2019   |   Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of The United Arab Emirates
H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of The United Arab Emirates

Programme is subject to change. Please check back regularly for updates on sessions and the speakers.

09:00 09:50

Keynote - Business-as-(un)usual: the opportunity of change

10:00 11:15

Opening Session

11:45 15:30

Interactive Parallel Sessions

11:45

Cyber security: Three clicks from collapse?

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The increasing interconnection and digitisation of the energy sector, along with the sector’s critical role in the functioning of a modern economy, makes it a highly attractive target for cyber-attacks. An attack on a system used to operate the power grid can impact the power supply of an entire country and attacks on energy systems could lead to physical damage, with significant impacts on local communities and the economy. Greater resilience to cyber risk is critical to current and future energy security. Questions 1) What does it take to effectively mitigate against cyber risks?? 2) How can governments and private sector collaborate to improve the energy sector’s response to cyber threats? 3) What are learnings from other sectors and best practices in coordinating cyber security measures across supply chains and borders?

11:45

The new people power: Driving change for sustainable energy

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Consumer concerns on livelihood and affordability of energy have risen up the political and business agenda. Driven by new and disruptive technologies, greater accessibility to information and influenced by the spread of populism affecting trust in governments and incumbents, consumers and communities are seeking added value, personal relevance and greater societal meaning in their energy choices. The ‘new people power’ is transforming the way consumers interact with energy systems across cities and communities. Questions 1) How are disruptive technologies impacting consumer logic, and to what extent is this driving change in the energy sector? 2) As consumer decisions begin to shape the future of many sectors, such as mobility, heating and electricity, how will this impact the demand for traditional fossil fuels? 3) Can the benefits and costs of successful energy transition be fairly shared?

11:45

Getting to grips with blockchain: Cutting through the hype

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Blockchain technology has the potential to transform energy systems by lowering transaction costs among small players and devices and by enabling the internet of things in energy. This has profound scope for new business models and asset use optimisation. But what are blockchain’s opportunities and risks in the energy sector? 1) What are the latest updates on use cases, pilots and scalability? 2) What are the regulatory obstacles associated with the implementation of blockchain applications and what are the issues to be addressed? 3) How will blockchain impact company and state value chain infrastructure related to the energy sector?

11:45

Communities and the social license to operate

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The traditional perception of the community paradox - democratised access but with the heavy industry in someone else's backyard - is being overcome by a new approach to achieving a social licence to operate. From Britain to Beijing, Cameroon to Canada, case studies are emerging of successful renewable installations not just providing energy, but livelihoods, partnerships and pride. What are the ingredients of success, the consequences of failure, and the 360 benefits of smart community project planning? Questions 1) What are successful examples of stakeholder engagement with local energy projects? 2) What ownership models help to gain trust and local buy-in? 3) What are the potential risks of community driven projects?

11:45

Financing energy: Closing the Clean Energy Investment Gap

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The energy industry will need to invest about half the world’s current GDP over the next 20 years in order to meet growing energy demand and climate objectives. Yet clean energy investments have decreased over the past two years. 1) What are reasons for the recent decrease in global clean energy investments? 2) What does it take to close the gap and deliver the clean energy infrastructure that is needed to deliver against climate objectives? 3) Which countries initiatives set best practices in closing the gap?

11:45

The future for hydrocarbon economies

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The energy transition is posing critical challenges for many of the world’s largest hydrocarbon-based economies, with many nations and global corporations set to curb their reliance on fossil fuels by mid-century. Maintaining energy prosperity whilst balancing the energy Trilemma in providing a secure, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy system is paramount, but the ways in which we produce, trade and use energy are changing in fundamental and faster ways than ever before. Questions 1) What are success stories of hydrocarbon-based countries in diversifying their economies and ensuring prosperity beyond a carbon peak? 2) What are implications on regional dynamics and how do these affect the global push to meet climate change goals? 3) What are new opportunities arising from the energy transition that place infrastructure rich hydrocarbon-based economies?

11:45

Global dynamics of natural gas and LNG markets

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As global energy demand rises and with the pressure to transition towards a lower CO2 energy supply, the market for natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) continues to expand and have changed the supply. Growing supplies of unconventional gas, led by US shale gas and Australian coal bed methane (CBM) have transformed the market realities with dramatic price developments in Asia and beyond. 1) What are the latest key international dynamics on unconventional gas? 2) When will the shale-boom decline or will there be other world regions where we can expect a new substantial rise of shale gas/oil? 3) How can infrastructure operators manage lower asset utilisation in regions exposed to a decrease in demand?

11:45

Dynamic resilience: Preparing for extreme weather, water stress and cyber risk

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In an increasingly interconnected energy era, infrastructure and system operators need to cope and thrive in the context of fast emerging opportunities and new systemic risks – including cyber threats, extreme weather events and financial shocks. How are energy leaders and their organisations learning to cope with emerging and systemic risks, and which new capabilities and options are emerging in the search for dynamic resilience? Questions 1) Which are the most pressing resilience challenges that require system adaptation? 2) Which are success stories or failures of managing extreme weather, energy water nexus or cyber risks? 3) How might energy systems be designed, priced and managed for dynamic resilience to a diverse range of systemic risks?

11:45

Refuelling the Talent Pipeline: The Energy Professional of the Future

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There is a serious risk of worker shortages for many job functions across the energy industry as employers are reporting increasing difficulty in recruiting workers with the right skills. The advent of AI, IoT and robotization threatens to exacerbate this, creating both new jobs requiring new skill sets and displacing existing ones. 1) What skills will the energy professional of the future need? 2) What actions need to be taken to ensure that students are well prepared? 3) What does the industry need to do to attract and retain the needed talent? 4) What are some success stories?

11:45

New models of leadership: Profit with purpose

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Profit with purpose is set to become the new norm. Investors and consumers are increasingly buying into companies that deliver positive social change on issues such as climate change, energy access and diversity & inclusion, alongside financial returns. According to a recent poll, 40% of millennials, who will make up 40% of consumers by 2020, believe the goal of businesses should be to ‘improve society’. 1) Are profit and purpose compatible? 2) How can business leaders place purpose at the core of their business? 3) What are some success stories?

11:45

To invest or to divest: New realities and responsibilities

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As the energy sector moves toward greater electrification and decarbonisation and faces the risks of demand peaks, stranded assets and resources, investors are paying greater attention to the way carbon-based projects are chosen, executed and managed. An increasing number of development banks, sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors have started black-listing high-CO2 solutions in their investment portfolio and pressure fossil fuel companies to disclose carbon management and risk mitigation strategies. 1) What are the facts of moving capital away from carbon-based energy resources? 2) What are the risks and challenges of moving funds away from carbon-based energy resources? 3) What are the most attractive investment alternatives? 4) What are the governments’ responsibilities & best practices toward carbon-based industries and people employed by those industries during the transition period?

11:45

The future of oil: Market shifts and trends

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OPEC-driven production cuts over recent years have rebalanced excess supply and prices, bolstering confidence that the “grand prize” of a balanced oil market is within reach. The price recovery, which has also been supported by healthy global economic conditions, is contrasted with the efforts of oil-rich economies to diversify and mitigate the risks of demand peak, permanently lower oil prices and lower budgets. The increasing role of the US as a net petroleum exporter by 2021 dominates forecasts, along with the effect of the slowing energy intensity of the Chinese economy. Alongside this, recent market volatility reflects new dynamics, including the limits of conventional producers and the impact of slowing global trade. Where can we expect oil to settle? Questions: 1) What does the “new normal” look like? Where can markets expect the oil price to eventually land? 2) How will the forecast slowdown in international trade, and growth in China affect oil prices? 3) How vulnerable are we to major price drops as experienced in 2016 and the potential impact to a squeeze in global supply from Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Iraq…? 4) As of when will the entry of new technologies such as e-mobility affect oil market dynamics?

11:45

Big Energy Challenges: Overcoming inertia in investment and ambition

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Big energy projects require a courageous appetite for immediate risk and deferred reward, and a long-term view on return-on-investment that may outlive its founding fathers - yet the future of energy prosperity demands that these challenges are overcome. This session looks at examples of how the traditionally constrictive administrative structures of government and commerce have been influenced to support big science and overcome short-termism and discusses how better long-term project business cases can be put together.

11:45

Role of gas in the global energy transition

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According to the World Energy Council’s scenarios, gas is likely to play an important role as a ‘bridging fuel’ to a low-carbon economy. Substitution of coal fired by gas fired power plants supports climate change mitigation efforts by reducing emission by half and would add 50% to today’s global gas consumption. Natural gas can also play a key role as a complement to increasing shares of intermittent renewable energy sources as it can provide necessary back-up, transport and storage capacities, at least in areas with an existing well-developed gas infrastructure. Asia is the region with the greatest hunger for future natural gas but it has also grown as a fuel for transport in North America as a result of cheap unconventionals. Meanwhile, on the innovation front power-to-gas may be a way to enable “green gas” in the future and contribute to a long-term vision for natural gas infrastructure. However, great policy uncertainties challenge the maintenance and expansion of expensive natural gas infrastructure in Europe and beyond. Questions 1) Is natural gas holding its promise as a ‘bridging fuel’ to a low-carbon economy? 2) Do existing market frameworks enable the shifting role of natural gas and its contribution to low-carbon economy? 3) Are the developments in gas fuelled transport and power-to-gas sign-posts towards a hydrogen economy and what would this mean for existing gas infrastructure?

11:45

New Regional Perspectives: Asian Prospects for a Low Carbon Society

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Asia is the most rapidly growing energy market and the most populous and diverse region in the world. Countries vary widely in their economic situation, government structure, the capability and robustness of their energy infrastructure, their status as a net exporter or a net importer and how well they are able to balance rising demand with climate action goals. Renewables, energy efficiency, hydrogen, natural gas, energy storage, new technology and distributed energy systems are among options to consider, but how should these be prioritised when there is no “one size fits all” solution? 1) What are the key challenges to delivering a low carbon society and what does it take to deliver faster progress? 2) How can countries attract the investment they need to build sustainable, resilient energy systems that meet rising demand and at the same time, help advance their climate action commitments? 3) Given the diversity and size of Asia, what types of intra-regional cooperation can help move the region toward a low carbon society?

11:45

The new energy efficiency agenda: energy information nexus

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With increased power demands and concerns over climate change, everyone is looking to find the next best source of clean and sustainable energy. Yet one of the largest sources of energy may just be energy efficiency. It is estimated that the deployment of energy efficient lighting, more efficient refrigerators in households, and more efficient motors in industry could save as much as 10% of power generation. Meanwhile, the question of whether digital productivity will reduce overall long-term energy demand remains hotly debated. 1) How will implications of the wider energy-information nexus affect supply chains and their energy footprint? 2) What innovative technologies have the greatest potential to take the next energy efficiency jump? 3) What are some success stories?

16:00 17:30

Closing Session

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