Through the Paris Agreement, the world has spoken on the need for climate action.

For the board and executive leadership of Woodside, we view our response to climate change not only as a responsibility, but a great opportunity. We are determined to succeed through the energy transition, for the benefit of our shareholders, our 4500 employees, our communities and our environment.

The success of the world’s energy transition will be determined by three factors: time, money and trust.

In relation to time, the investment challenge for the energy transition is vast and will take decades, even with supportive policy and technological change.

New technologies will – and are – emerging at pace, but are unlikely to abruptly replace an energy system that has taken more than a century and trillions of dollars to build, and which continues to provide reliable, affordable energy to billions of people around the world.

This is one reason we believe energy sources such as natural gas will play a sustained transitional role for decades to come.

Indeed, we can see this being played out in real decisions. The recent purchase of 25 per cent of Woodside’s Scarborough joint venture by Japanese energy companies bears out how important they think its gas supplies will be to their businesses.

Let me be clear, Woodside does not hold this view because we are agnostic or uncertain about the importance of a successful energy transition. Managing the transition carefully and realistically will increase the likelihood that it succeeds.

In contrast, getting the timing wrong could lead to energy price spikes, blackouts and job losses, making it very difficult to maintain community and political will.

The transition won’t just take time, it requires money. The investment challenge is huge, but that is also our opportunity.

Hundreds of thousands of Australians are either direct or indirect investors in Woodside through their superannuation funds. We take our responsibility to them as seriously as our commitment to acting on climate change.

We have worked to develop decarbonisation plans for every single Woodside-operated asset globally following the 2022 merger with BHP’s petroleum business, with action under way across our operations.

We have also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the purchase of hydrogen electrolysers, clean energy technologies being developed by partner companies, and other products and services that can help us and our customers decarbonise.

Noble ambitions are not enough, and dashed hopes are what come from not backing ambition with achievable plans.

But these new energy markets today are still emerging and remain relatively high-cost.

Boards cannot invest on promise alone – there has to be confidence in a return on our shareholders’ capital. These investments must be made with ongoing capital discipline. To do otherwise would put at risk the faith our shareholders have placed in us to responsibly manage their investment.

Finally, the energy transition will not succeed without trust – including a shared commitment to facts and reason from all parties engaged in the climate debate. Noble ambitions are not enough, and dashed hopes are what come from not backing ambition with achievable plans.

Our investors want to know how Woodside’s business is aligned to the Paris goals.

This is why I continue to engage closely with investors on our response to climate change, seeking to ensure that Woodside meets their expectations of us as a responsible energy producer.

Our new Climate Transition Action Plan builds on the input of many investors and key stakeholders, obtained through hundreds of meetings. It sets out in detail how we assess our portfolio and investments for resilience, and our strategic aim to thrive through the global energy transition.

Our chief executive, Meg O’Neill, presented this plan to our investors and key stakeholders recently. I will not summarise its detailed data, targets and metrics here. But I do want to emphasise that we have developed a plan that is considered, credible and clearly responds to investor feedback. It represents a material step forward from Woodside’s previous climate disclosures.

I know that, for some observers, Woodside’s position, targets and ambitions, and efforts on climate will never be enough. But I believe that the deeply committed and carefully analysed approach to the energy transition that Woodside is adopting is the right path – not just for our shareholders, but for the environment.

Woodside has lifted the bar on our climate disclosures and is implementing a plan that we believe is Paris-aligned. But we are resolutely honest about what is achievable – we set out our case clearly while respecting that others may disagree.

I urge everyone involved in this debate to find ways to work together to thoughtfully manage the energy transition. This will require a mix of regulatory support using both carrots and sticks, incentives to invest and to buy, and an understanding that working together is the best path forward for a successful energy transition. Woodside will continue playing its role to make this possible.

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