Stuart McKay, Principal Consultant in our Field Development team, chats about his 35 years in energy and where he sees the sector heading in Australia.

Read the interview below.

Stuart McKay


Role: Principal Consultant – Field Development
Years in oil and gas: 35
Years at Xodus: 2

What have you seen change in the last 12 – 24 months in the industry?

Perhaps no surprises to anyone (well maybe with the exception of our Environmental team who have seen this change coming), but the pace of change for renewables, carbon capture and storage and ESG issues from the engineer at the front line all the way up to the Board of our major customers has really surprised me. We have seen ourselves (and competitors) make significant changes in our focus as to what projects to target and to ensure that they are associated with sustainable development. We have seen traditional customers (oil & gas) struggle to get finance while sustainable development opportunities (renewables) are incentivised through competitive market rates for finance and significant government incentives. We have seen major oil & gas companies embrace change and we have seen other majors been dragged to the table by shareholders.

 What are the different skills you need deliver these projects?

I think there are many skills that we need to succeed in today’s environment, but more importantly I believe I do not have all the skills myself, whether these be technical or soft skills. I have strength in areas such as experience (sometimes you have to have been on the journey yourself), I enjoy front end work and I think I have quite a bit of drive to get things done.

How has this changed the work you do?

Although the work I have been involved in with the last 12-24 month has been associated with Energy Transition, the change hasn’t impacted me personally so much.  The work I do is very much associated with development planning, it’s using tools and processes to help project teams get alignment and do the right work at the right time.  Whether this is traditional Oil & Gas or some of the things I’ve been lucky enough to get involved in recently including looking at Hydrogen, framing changeout of diesel power generation to renewables in the Cooper Basin of undertaking an Assess Phase for a Carbon Capture and Storage Opportunity the skill set is the same. 

Where do you think the energy industry is headed in Australia?

Noting how surprised I am with the pace of energy transition, anything I articulate here should be taken with a grain of salt. We have seen some quite big forecasts from IEA articulating no new Oil & Gas required from pretty much this year and recently Rystad Energy somewhat contradicting them forecasting new projects circa 10 million bpd in the 2030s. In areas Australia is falling behind, with our price of carbon offsets low compared to other major economies but at the same time an acceleration into the likes of Hydrogen opportunities given we have opportunity for Renewables. The only thing that is certain is change.