18 May 2023
Media Release: APPEA Excellence Awards honour environment, safety, workforce and community initiatives
Australia’s oil and gas industry has recognised the ground-breaking initiatives by member companies – helping protect wildlife, manage COVID threats safely, upskill workforces and educate school students in their communities.
At a gala dinner in Adelaide during the 2023 APPEA Conference & Exhibition, the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) last night recognised Woodside Energy with the top APPEA Chair’s Award for its Karratha Education Initiative – Enriching Educational Opportunities & Achievement.
The program has bridged the gap between resources and opportunities available to metropolitan school students compared to those in remote regional centres, providing employment pathways support for Karratha secondary school students over the past 15 years.
A collaboration between the North West Shelf Project joint venture partners, St Luke’s College, Karratha Senior High School and the Department of Education, the partnership supports pathways through tertiary education or industry-based careers.
APPEA Chief Executive Samantha McCulloch said the winner of the new award, selected independently, exemplified the way members contributed to the communities where they operated.
“The criteria for this award says it all – recognising culture and leadership, performance and outcomes, engagement and collaboration as well as innovation and advocacy with external stakeholders,” she said.
“Programs like this show how Australia’s oil and gas industry can make a real difference in communities across Australia, particularly in remote and regional areas like Karratha, to improve the lives of Australians.”
The initiative was one of three Woodside Energy projects recognised for their excellence in individual award categories alongside other initiatives by Beach Energy and ExxonMobil.
The Karratha Education Initiative took out the Community Development Award category.
The Safety Project Excellence Award went to Beach Energy for its Otway Offshore COVID & Mental Health Management conducted during the pandemic, overcoming the health and safety challenges and restrictions like border closures to continue as one of the few drilling campaigns operating.
In collaboration with Diamond Offshore, the program conducted the campaign in the Otway Basin between February 2021 and July 2022 with the Ocean Onyx drilling rig.
Stringent COVID controls and ‘green corridor’ travel pathways enabled the rig to continue operating with only a few days of downtime due to COVID.
The Workforce Development Award was awarded to joint winners, ExxonMobil Australia and Woodside Energy.
ExxonMobil Australia subsidiary Esso Australia’s Mentored Apprenticeship Program is providing skilled employment opportunities to young Australians while helping develop a skilled workforce.
Developed with training provider WPC Group, the program has hired and trained 42 apprentices and trainees from diverse backgrounds across Esso Australia’s worksites in Gippsland and Hastings, Victoria since its inception in 2018.
Under guidance from Esso’s crew of experienced industry experts, apprentices and trainees are employed across a range of trades: electrical, mechanical, instrumentation and process plant operations.
Many of the initial cohort who commenced in 2018 have gone on to employment, working across Longford, Long Island Point and offshore sites.
Woodside Energy was also recognised in the Workforce Development Award for its Navigator Leadership Development Program, improving staff development to support the energy transition.
Navigator has become pivotal to integrating heritage BHP Petroleum employees into Woodside Energy and creating the culture of a combined organisation following the merger.
It builds diverse capability, embraces cultural change and shapes clear leadership pathways.
Navigator is co-designed with AGSM (the business school of the University of New South Wales (UNSW)) to ensure quality of, and equal access to, personal development for all employees.
The Environment Project Excellence Award was also awarded to Woodside Energy for scientific innovation and collaboration enabling effective management of pygmy blue whales in Australia’s northwest.
Collaborating with the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Centre for Whale Research, satellite tracking technology was used to understand how whales can respond to underwater noise.
This informs Woodside’s offshore activity management while expanding public knowledge to support broader habitat management and conservation efforts.
The awards were first held in 2001. Ms McCulloch congratulated this year’s winners for their focus on improving outcomes.
“The APPEA Excellence Awards highlight the outstanding work undertaken across our member companies to constantly improve operations for the benefit of the environment, health and safety and the communities where we operate,” she said.
“Whether it’s COVID safety procedures, whale protection, education programs for youths or workforce upskilling, these companies are adopting new approaches and technologies to improve outcomes for their own operations and Australia.”
Media contact: 0435 113 224.