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2023 SPE Gaia Summit Oman Exit Interview - Kamel Ben-Naceur

By Kamel Ben-Naceur - 2022 SPE President

This video is an exit interview from the third SPE Sustainable Development Technical Section Gaia Summit in Muscat, Oman on March 15 and 16th, 2023.  The event was a success with well over 80 people in attendance, spiking to over 100 during portions of the program.  There is a 2023 Gaia Summit event journal available for all to get a feel for the excitement of the event and to learn from the primary takeaways of the two days of intense engagement.

You can find the journal here: SPE Gaia 2023 journal on the SDTS SPE Connect page.

You can also find a 1-min video highlight reel of day-1 here: Day 1  and day-2 here: Day 2. Free to get in touch with Josh Etkind or Johana Dunlop with any questions.

The event focused on envisioning and working together to create a positive future where oil and gas is the center of a clean energy system with human life and biodiversity thriving inside the 9 planetary boundaries as defined by the Stockholm Resilience Center.

It is widely accepted that humanity is not yet doing enough fast enough to reduce the pressure on the planet’s carrying capacity—seven of the nine planetary boundaries are in breach according to the Stockholm Resilience Center. We are not thriving inside planetary boundaries and yet we could be, and we could whilst enjoying the benefits of oil and gas. That’s our Gaia premise, that our industry has a future on the right side of history but only if we make the extraordinary advances and changes needed to restore balance to the planet.

That’s why we created the Gaia Program with its Gaia Summit at the core. Our focus audience is those individuals who every day produce oil and gas to meet the world’s energy needs, those who sit under the sustainability glass floor trying to make the top line, make the bottom line, not injure anyone and now save the planet too! All are welcome but our priority is SPE members and near members and friends. We run continuous programming through the year and once a year for 2-3 days we host the highly engaging SPE Gaia Summit attended by multinational, intergenerational, multidisciplinary, non-hierarchical mixed but largely oil and gas audience and thought leader speakers.

The hallmarks of the unique Gaia Summits include: Orchestrated facilitation; experience-based learning with self and own challenges at the center of the learning; bias for commitment to action and moving needles, not just talking; confident engagement with experts on Gaia topics that stretch our comfort zone; planetary boundaries as context; sustainability and systems thinking; framing tough questions; re-scaling, aggregation, collaboration, new models, new knowledge; non hierarchical, everyone is a speaker, agency building; network inside the event not on the margins; confident conditions to act our way into new thinking; safe & experimental space to convene divergent views and sources of new expertise. Four technical themes and two enabling behaviors make up the core of the program – they are the areas where we all have most to learn and which are the most challenging to execute and manifest.

For those unfamiliar with the Gaia Program within the SDTS, we are systems thinkers who think like activists but act like engineers. Our goal is to shatter the sustainability glass floor and accelerate the operationalization of “strong” or “true” sustainability practices that respect planetary boundaries. We focus on the four themes and two enabling behaviors in our strategic learning and programming framework, each thoughtfully selected because they present the greatest challenge, require unprecedented new learning, and integration of new voices and ways of understanding our life systems.

Our themes are: Transform the Energy System—People & Technology; Measure What Matters for Action and Impact; Regenerate Natural Capital; Enable People Centered Transition; with two enabling behaviors: Engage & Listen, and Collaborate to Innovate.  We create and enable programming which reaches inside and outside SPE and is designed to empower learning and agency – masterclasses, study groups, workshops, conference panels, Gaia Talks on SPE Live, in SPE Sections and Regions, the Sustainable Development Technical Section, Methane Emissions Management Technical Section, and the flagship event – the SPE annual international Gaia Summit.