Woodside’s future in technology, trees and hydrogen

Woodside's future in technology, trees and hydrogen

That is equivalent to solar panels covering the entire Sydney area.

“So, you can get the enormity of the scale of the challenge here for us,” Coleman says.

“But we’re committed to moving down and looking seriously at what that future looks like because there’s a lot of complementarities in that type of business.”

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman says it’s possible the LNG producer will look more like a technology company in the future. David Rowe

But Coleman says Woodside is well position to become a significant producer of hydrogen energy.

“You know it’s producing a lot of product at large industrial scale transporting it to customers that we’re already familiar with and so forth,” he says

“The markets, the access to renewable power and so forth all fit very well with the skill sets that Woodside has and the proximity we have to our markets.”

The second area of focus is technology.

“We’re moving more and more to being a technology company,” he says “We’re not so much an oil and gas company that uses technology but a technology company that specialises in oil and gas.

“We use technologies from all over the place whether it be from the cloud, whether it be through the way that we communicate with each other, whether that be through the Australian space agency or NASA and others and so forth. So we’re using technology from all over the place.

“And we’re saying: is there something there in technology for us? It’s still too early for me to tell you whether there is something there or there is not. We’re actively looking at that.”

The third stream of thinking about the future is in carbon abatement.

“We established a carbon company earlier this year recognising that to achieve our goal or our aspiration of being carbon neutral by 2050 we needed to get into self-help programs, fairly rapidly,” Coleman says.

“There’s really two ways of doing that today that are proven technologies. One of those, of course, is the planting of trees and Savannah burning.

“The other one of course is carbon sequestration. A third part to that though is the use of carbon in manufacturing process and turning it into another product.”

Earlier this year, Woodside partnered with Greening Australia as part of a mass tree planting exercise. The company is funding the planting of native trees to create large carbon sinks in Australia.

“Our view is trading carbon credits on global exchanges is maybe something you do for the short term, but you’re really not contributing to the carbon sink you’re paying for somebody else to do the work,” he says.

“We’d rather do the work ourselves. You can see a pathway where that will actually become a large part of that business.

“The question for us is just how far is that a real business or is that a business for us just simply to abate our own ambition so that we can go into another one, so that that’s what we are in the next few years.

“We haven’t made any decisions at this point we won’t for a few years, but you can see now we’re starting to set ourselves up, both physically with the assets, but also to gain the knowledge and at a sensible pace, but we’re doing it early.”

Woodside spent $US100 million investing in trees to offset the carbon from its Pluto LNG project. Coleman says the company will spend tens of millions of dollars more in offsetting its future carbon emissions.

Coleman says Woodside is also working on carbon sequestration through carbon capture in depleted reservoirs.

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