Economist's Corner - The past technology-driven decade and the economic challenges ahead.
For the oil and gas industry, the last decade (2003 to 2013) has been one of “resilience, extraordinary innovation, and, despite setbacks, significant gains in safety and environmental conformance,” according to Paal Kibsbaard, chief executive officer of Schlumberger, in his report “A Decade of Upstream Technology Innovation” included in the World Petroleum Council’s 80th Anniversary Edition report (2013). The industry remains strong, after sustaining humanity’s supply of oil and gas and thereby meeting more than half the global energy needs throughout the decade. In the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Petroleum Technology, Behrooz Fattahi, 2010 SPE president, said the industry has been focusing on the concept of sustainability or its components “for a long time, but under different descriptive terms—optimizing production, maximizing reserves, reducing cost, cutting waste, increasing efficiency, optimizing processes, minimizing footprint, maximizing safety, reducing environmental impact, and increasing corporate social responsibility.” Sensitivity to all these factors is required when looking back on the industry’s last 10 years and looking ahead to the next 10 years. The oil and gas industry has always been a risky business for many reasons—from geophysics to geopolitics.