A panel of professionals representing the oil and gas companies, service companies, the financial sector and academia debated the question “is it time to be optimistic?” and the future for exploration for oil and gas in the next 5 years. Although there was a consensus that the situation is looking much brighter than 2 years ago, the panel discussed mostly challenges we face in the oil and gas industry.
Several members of the panel were worried about the bad reputation of the industry. Going from “heroes” in the seventies to becoming the “bad guys” responsible for polluting the environment. Based on analyses from several energy analytics oil and gas are needed to provide the world of enough energy until an alternative has been found. So, there is certainly still a future for oil and gas exploration, but we must try and find the smart barrels. And of course, communication is key, both in dialogue with the government as with the general public.
A slightly related challenge is attracting new young professionals into the industry. Apart from the bad reputation regarding the environment, the business is also highly cyclical and dependent on the oil price and hence not a very secure career choice. There is need for young geoscientist interested in innovative technologies to replace the older generation who are retiring or close to retirement. Luckily some of the companies have started hiring graduates again.
The message from the service industry was that the landscape in the seismic market has changed after a tough time. Many companies are becoming more asset light focussing on multi-client data while Shearwater on the other hand is focussing on acquisition.
The financial sector still wants to invest in oil and gas, but better financial performance is needed. In the past (2012-2014) there was a lack of cost-discipline and this should be avoided in the future.
All in all, the industry is gaining optimism again but still sees many challenges to deliver energy to the world in a cost-effective, environmental-conscience way.
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