The Biggest Trends & Challenges Facing the Oil & Gas Industry

In the last ten years, there have been seismic shifts in the oil and gas industry.

In an economy that produces somewhere in the region of $80 trillion of gross domestic product a year, oil and gas drilling make up somewhere between 2% and 3% of the global economy.

Technologies thought unthinkable only a few years ago have revolutionised the way business go about finding their resources and the attitudes to the future of the oil business.

Here, we look at some of the trends and challenges currently circulating in the industry.

The Trends

The ‘Smart-Oilfield’

The oil industry is currently enjoying significant investment to create digitalised oilfields that offer integrated data communication across wellheads, pipelines and mechanical systems.

This collective data produces real-time analytics for data centres that can regulate oil-flows to optimise production.

Experts believe this extra intelligence has the potential to increase the net value of oil and gas assets by an eye-watering 25%.

Technology Striking Rich

Within the last decade, worry around the quantity of oil left remaining dominated the industry. Thanks to the technological advances of the last five or so years, oil companies have discovered resources so significant that these once very real concerns are now a distant memory.

4D seismic technology has created huge benefits in reservoir monitoring and is now used universally to maximise return on investment.

The development of the Subsea oilfields has reduced both infrastructure and production costs, with deeper exploration providing greater profits and risks in equal measure.

While controversial in its application, fracking of shale basins has taken US crude oil output to its highest peak since 1989, and overseas developments are in process and set to have a significant impact on the industry.

Finally, advances in oil recovery technology offer the potential to make enormous efficiency improvements. As it stands, only around one third of oil is recovered in drilling processes, meaning there are huge financial gains to be had through improving the infrastructure.

Even with some of these processes still in their infancy, the tech-revolution is offering the potential for unfathomable gains.

The Challenges

The Competition for Talent

As with any industry, the competition for top talent is fierce, but with an aging and shrinking talent pool, the oil industry’s big guns are having to invest more than ever into attracting the best people to their business.

Adding to the above trends, this means the oil industry is a good one to be in, with notable increases in base salaries alongside additional incentives and perks in recent years.

However, with specialised experience lying predominantly with the older age groups, oil companies face a key challenge in recruiting and training the next generation, not to mention matching the staffing demands of a starved sector.

The Obituary of Oil?

Despite new found and untapped resources, there are several challenges facing the oil industry that collectively pose the question: is the end of the industry nigh?

With an ever-growing market in sustainable energy, continuing price volatility and inflationary costs on wages and raw materials, oil companies face serious challenges in remaining competitively priced and diversifying their services to keep going in fluctuating market.

Even with the rise of green technologies like the electric car market, fossil fuels still have a major part to play in the next few decades of global industry. It is, however, simply a case of proving that to investors who have an eye on the future.

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