PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Australia’s energy resources sector could unlock a potential A$10-billion in value for the national economy if it pursues a number of reforms, a report by National Energy Resources Australia (Nera) has found.
In its 2018 update to the ‘Sector Competitiveness Plan’, Nera identified collaboration, increased innovation investment and the integration of autonomous and digital technologies across the supply chain as critical factors that will power future growth across Australia’s A$55-billion energy resources sector.
The plan outlines a ten-year vision for Australia to be a global energy powerhouse, a sought-after destination for investment and the leading source of knowledge and solutions. The plan arrives at a critical time for a sector experiencing unprecedented disruption from new technologies, unique business models and the challenge to transition to a decarbonised economy.
Nera CEO Miranda Taylor said on Friday that despite the challenges, Australia’s energy resources sector remained one of the principal sources of revenue underpinning the nation’s economy and directly employed about 85 900 full time workers.
In addition, ten times that number of jobs are supported through the supply chain and broader economy.
This places Australia’s energy resources sector among the world’s most successful, leveraging the country’s rich natural resources, geographical advantages and strong performance in developing talent and knowledge, Taylor said.
However, she said more needed to be done to maintain Australia’s competitive advantage and for the energy resources sector to be in a leading position in the global technology race.
“We need to develop local talent, capability and capacity, and continuously find, adapt and deploy technology to remain at the forefront of automation innovation to ensure future sector growth is not left unexploited.”
“Australia has a proud history of discovery and a willingness to give things a go, which has allowed us to maximise our natural advantages and support a strong domestic energy resources value chain. Our future prosperity, however, cannot be guaranteed without industry and supporting supply chains working collaboratively to realise the efficiencies and productivity improvements that future operations will demand.”
She added that Nera’s global benchmarking of the Australian energy resources sector showed that more needed to be done to improve the sector’s competitiveness when compared with global peers.
“To meet this challenge, Nera has highlighted how automation and digital technologies – whether leveraged through smart networked assets, autonomous sensors, artificial intelligence, robotics, drones or remote operating vehicles – can deliver opportunities for industry to realise cost management, efficiency, safety and productivity improvements on a global scale.
“Unless we work together, our sector cannot realise these opportunities and our transition towards a decarbonised energy future will not occur.”
Taylor said that the speed and nature of digital transformation meant industry must now access the very best knowledge and talent wherever it is and fast, and therefore the importance of deepening collaboration between researchers and innovators, industry and governments cannot be overstated.