A Perspective on the Future of the Oil & Gas Industry: Towards a New Reality

With the green shoots emerging, the oil & gas industry may have reasons to hope for, and perhaps foresee, better times ahead.


Optimism is gradually creeping in the oil & gas industry.

Towards the end of 2016, the industry witnessed developments that herald a promising future for oil & gas. For instance, OPEC members and a number of non-OPEC producers have agreed to cut production, rig counts were steadily rising and the US natural gas sector continued to claw as it spurs the US’ rise as a global LNG exporter. M&A and divestiture activities have also started picking up.

Oil & Gas Industry Analysis in North America (Photo credit: Flickr)

With the green shoots finally emerging, the industry may have reasons to hope for, and to some extent foresee, better times ahead.

The general confidence, however, does come with caution. The industry and allied stakeholders admit that the recent downturn will leave long-term effects in a number of aspects within the oil and gas sector. Therefore, the collective opinion is that moving forward, the industry will be defined by the way it adopts to the changes and responds to the salient issues confronting the sector.

Below, we take a look at a few talking points (on partnerships, shortening project cycles and manpower) and shed light on certain business and operational strategies that oil & gas companies may espouse.

Strategic partnerships with specialists

The industry is increasingly seeing new forms of business alliances. The industry once dominated by generalist companies (or those that discover, develop and operate an oil or gas field and provide all other allied services) is evolving into one that features partnerships among specialists in specific aspects of the operating environment. Such a collaboration offers the opportunity to leverage the specialties of the various entities involved. It furthermore ensures that each relevant process within the operation is looked after by companies most able to manage them.

Oil & Gas Industry Analysis in North America (Photo credit: Flickr)

This is exemplified in the partnership of international oil companies and specialists, like British Petroleum (BP) and exploration company Kosmos to seek assets in Mauritania and Senegal. Then, there are oil-field services providers, like Schlumberger, Halliburton and Petrofac, which aligned with various oil & gas producers to offer their integrated field management services.

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Oil & gas entities are also partnering with power services provider to ensure the continuous supply of electricity to their operations wherever they may be. The importance of electric power in oil & gas facilities cannot be understated, and by collaborating with reputable power providers, oil & gas companies can increase their production, avoid downtime and enhance operational efficiencies while minimizing operational expenditure.

A shift to shorter-cycle projects

At the height of the downturn, the industry saw a staggering USD 620 billion worth of projects through 2020 deferred or cancelled. This fact epitomized the real risks of operating within the industry amidst the prevailing market situation. This, therefore, prompted oil & gas companies to train their sights on more viable shorter-cycle projects.

Oil & Gas Industry Analysis in North America (Photo credit: Flickr)

For oil & gas companies, dealing with shorter-cycle projects entailed a new mindset, a heightened attention to capital allocation and more innovative ways of doing business. For example, in shorter-term projects, it may no longer make sense to devote a large chunk of capital to permanent facilities, like power generation systems, which will only serve for a limited time. In this case, instead of building their own power plants, oil & gas companies can choose to rent temporary power plants for the duration of the project.

By renting power plants, oil & gas companies, like ConocoPhillips, EOG Resources and Anadarko, will no longer need to invest a huge amount towards the construction and operation of a permanent facility, and will no longer have to grapple with substantial upfront costs. Oil & gas companies can conveniently pay for the rented electricity from their operational profits, and can easily plan for their financial allocation throughout the project, because payment schedules are fixed and regular over a contracted term.

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Once the project is over, the rented power plants can be rapidly demobilized by the power provider, thus leaving no permanent power facility not utilized or that will require further maintenance and service.

An encouraging manpower landscape

At the height of the downturn, oil & gas companies had to streamline operations to survive the recession. This resulted in massive job cuts, estimated to have affected more than 100,000 through November 2016.

Oil & Gas Industry Analysis in North America (Photo credit: Flickr)

On a positive note, the lay-offs have ebbed in recent months, and encouraging numbers of oil-related postings for oil-producing states have started to manifest. But, despite the gradual increase in manpower requirements within the energy industry, most oil & gas companies remain lean and conservative in recruiting new employees.

This is another area where renting power can prove to be advantageous. A full temporary power service includes expert manpower to install, operate, maintain and service the power plants throughout the project. This means, oil and gas companies will not need to hire, re-train or transfer employees to manage the power plants.

For more information on rental power solutions for the oil & gas industry, click here

Marching on to the future

The oil & gas industry has proven time and again that it has the ability to reinvent itself in the face of challenging times. The tough last couple of years have prompted the oil & gas sector to tighten its belt in order to thrive in an environment of repressed oil prices. Looking to the future, the emerging oil & gas industry will largely depend on how it reacts to its new reality. With the appropriate business strategies and responses to prevailing industry issues, a more resilient sector can emerge from the rubbles of the downturn.

 

This article is sponsored by Altaaqa Global Caterpillar Rental Power

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A Perspective on the Future of the Oil & Gas Industry: Towards a New Reality

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