eThe future of the oil and gas business – upstream and downstream – is all about demand. If current forecasts come true, the world in the year 2025 will DEMAND 50 percent more oil than it does now…and nearly 100 percent more natural gas. As resources mature, nature will DEMAND that companies explore in heretofore undreamed-of places for hydrocarbons – intellectual places as much as if not more than geophysical ones. In the future, shareholders and bankers will DEMAND better profitability than the gas business has been able to deliver for most of the past twenty years. They’ll DEMAND that companies measure and manage the risks of upstream work more rigorously than ever before…to make decisions better than ever, projections more precise, and failure rates lower. Also in the future, the public will DEMAND that companies make no messes, that they hurt no flora or fauna where they work, and in some cases that they perform no work at all. Governments will DEMAND that companies disclose more than ever before about their financial accounts and that they undertake unprecedented liability for accuracy of the numbers. Meanwhile, governments of countries in which companies wish to work will DEMAND that they NOT disclose their financial dealings, even as pressure for greater disclosure builds from other quarters. And, sooner or later, workers will DEMAND better pay and greater stability and more opportunities for growth – as distinguished from grind – than they’ve received in the upstream oil and gas industry in the past decade or so.
In the oil and gas industry of the future, supply will seem routine. The larger challenge will be meeting a burgeoning slate of increasingly complex and often conflicting DEMANDS. That challenge will keep the oil and gas industry the most fascinating and exciting business in the world – a business that will remain, in terms of its contributions to human welfare, among the world’s most important.