More than 80 individuals attended a Council webinar this week led by Jordan Zweig, SVP and Chief Human Resources Officer, ChampionX, and David Rabley, Managing Director, Accenture, focused on demystifying the energy transition.
“It is important to find ways of keeping the talent we have in our industry and developing the next generation of energy leaders. The energy transition offers so many options for our companies and and our workforce.” said Council Senior Advisor Andy Knapp, who worked with Zweig and Rabley to plan the session. “Natural gas is not a transition fuel and it not going away – it will continue to be a critical piece of the energy mix.”
Zweig said it’s essential for companies in the sector to do a better job of telling their stories to educate stakeholders, articulate the transformation, and position themselves to attract and retain the best talent possible to work in the industry.
“People want to be part of a purpose driven company. So how are we as companies in the industry, fulfilling our purpose of improving lives, contributing to a lower carbon future? How are we building sustainable organizations?”Jordan Zweig, ChampionX
Rabley told attendees that the energy transition currently underway will be unlike any that preceded it. Where previous transitions were driven by supply and asset owners pursuing value creation, this transition is animated by the need to decarbonize consumption and the push from society and stakeholders to achieve environmental improvement.
Where previous transitions were specific to fuel source or geographies, today’s transition is global and spans all sectors and geographies.
Another major difference Rabley said, is the timeframe and economics. Where historical transitions involved decades of innovation followed by decades of diffusion, the current transition is driven by the external 2050 deadline for emissions reduction. He said this calls for new markets and a dramatic repricing of energy and emissions.
Rabley said energy demand would continue to be met largely by fossil fuels, which will face growing competition from renewables. He said there are three lenses that are useful for companies to consider in framing their energy transition agenda and potential business model:
- Clean the Core — Bring value across today’s assets.
- Accelerate the Transition — Pivot to a clean energy system.
- Extend the Frontier — Incubate and position for future energy solutions.
During the webinar, Rabley discussed possible archetypes for operators and service companies centered around decarbonization, providing energy from an array of sources, and leadership in providing low-carbon solutions.
“Overall, energy demand remains robust and will continue to expand. Electricity will take precedence driven by electrification and uptake of green hydrogen.”David Rabley, Accenture
He said gas demand remains resilient in all scenarios through 2040 and will play a major role in the transition, especially in the U.S. as natural gas will stimulate demand for blue hydrogen. Investment in renewables will continue to grow at the expense of fossil fuels. Government action will support these investments, as will anticipated cost-curve improvement.
Big questions remain in the transition, Rabley said, including how low-carbon value chain markets will develop, how low-carbon policy and investments play out across North America, and whether technology will advance at the speed and scale envisioned.
For more information, contact Council Senior Advisor Andy Knapp.
Kevin Broom, Director Communications and Research, writes about the Council’s sector-specific best practices and leadership. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights industry practices, workforce development, Council activities and more.