Many of the world’s oil and gas professionals are descending on London for International Petroleum Week. But much of the debate will be about America – and the lessons the UK and others can learn from its recent experience.

The energy renaissance in the US will start a lot of conversations – not least the news that the country surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer in 2013 – as well as being the top gas producer. For the second year running, the US has clocked up the largest increase in production globally.

This is not only good news for energy, but for the US economy as a whole, generating jobs and investment and reducing the trade deficit. And it’s not bad news for the environment either. Switching from coal towards competitively priced gas in power generation has helped bring US carbon emissions to 10pc below 2005 levels.

So who has contributed to this phenomenon and what are the lessons for the delegates gathered this week?

The first contributor has been the consumer. And projections in the BP Energy Outlook 2035 indicate the consumer will continue to demand more energy – around 1.5pc a year more globally for the next two decades.

Mother Nature provides the resources – and they aren’t running out soon either. True, they are tougher to get at – in deeper water or more complex formations – but they are prolific. Such is the scale of shale, for example, that the International Energy Agency estimates the world now has more than 230 years’ worth of gas resources.

Governments play a critical role by creating the conditions above the ground to stimulate investment in the resources beneath it. In Alaska, for example, recent tax reforms have helped encourage BP to allocate a further $1bn (£600m) of investment. In the UK – with a 10th of the US’s oil reserves and about a 40th of its gas – such conditions can be even more significant, such as the targeted tax policies that have helped reinvigorate North Sea activity.

Investors provide our capital and we need to deliver what they expect. Having funded an investment boom since the mega-mergers of the late 1990s, investors want to see the returns – plus a commitment to prudence and competitive performance in the years ahead.

So that leaves us – the industry. Against this background, with these opportunities and pressures, what levers do we have in our hands that can help us take the best of the US experience and replicate it in the UK and worldwide?

The International Petroleum Week agenda offers us a range of topics to discuss – the growth of gas, the Arctic, the potential of Russia and so on. These are all important, but I believe the underlying challenge for the big energy companies in the next phase of our evolution is simply one of execution – how to make the most of every dollar we spend. And that largely comes down to a few fundamental factors.

The first, and most important, is to pursue continuous improvement in safe and reliable operations. This is the heart of a good business. And as well as maintaining safety, it drives efficiency and reinforces teamwork. We have recently seen benefits in BP with accidents and injuries declining and efficiency improving. But there is more to do.

Another potential game changer is technology, as the US has shown. The shale revolution has been facilitated by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The deepwater Gulf of Mexico has been opened up by advanced seismic imaging and the latest finds in the Paleogene geological layer will only be produced if we develop a new generation of equipment, as we are doing. It’s no coincidence that our main speaker at IP Week is our head of technology, David Eyton, who will review the many ways that technology can maximise the return on investment. And it’s not just about finding new fields. One of David’s main points is that we have probably reached a point globally when the potential for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) from known hydrocarbon resources exceeds the potential from new discoveries.

When Prudhoe Bay in Alaska was discovered in 1968 it was believed to contain 9.6bn barrels of oil. It has now produced 12bn – and counting. In the upcoming Clair Ridge operation in the North Sea we are deploying BP’s proprietary technology called LoSal EOR – using low salinity water to displace trapped oil – to deliver an extra 42m barrels for an additional cost of $120m, or $3 a barrel. Such innovations are gold dust in a world where prudence is paramount.

So, safe, reliable operations and technology are among the main factors that can deliver real value. But these, and the many other ingredients for success, do not create themselves. They are created by smart, committed people. Perhaps the most important session at IP Week is the one on “the global skills gap”. This is an area where we need to work together as an industry. We need to show today’s youngsters that this is tomorrow’s sector, not yesterday’s. If we want America’s experience repeated in the UK and worldwide, then ultimately it depends on demonstrating that energy is a great place to work – with great technology, great people, great challenges and a great purpose – delivering the fuel the world needs for its development and growth. America’s energy renaissance is well under way – but the wider world’s will be a project for a new generation.