The Industry of the Future: What Does It Look Like?
- Stephen Whitfield (JPT Senior Staff Writer)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- December 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 43 - 46
- 2017. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
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As new technologies, environmental concerns, and consumer priorities disrupt the status quo of energy operations, industry has begun to rethink how it must proceed in order to remain as vital to global development in the future as it is today. But what does rethinking entail? Does the industry need to transition much to adapt to a new reality, or will success in the future be a simple matter of changing perceptions? How much will industry need to continue leveraging innovative technologies to survive in the future? Those questions have been at the forefront of several discussions held in recent months.
In September, Baker Botts and the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy hosted its Global Energy Transitions Summit. The summit described a vision of an energy industry in flux. Panels of industry executives examined how economics, policy, and technology will drive change across energy markets.
At one of the panels from the summit, Deborah Byers, managing partner of Ernst and Young’s (EY) Houston office, described the energy company of the future as energy “reimagined” in three dimensions: future demand, the future of operations, and the future of the workforce. US shale production has spearheaded a global abundance of natural gas. Byers said that any ramp up of demand of natural gas will come from the low cost of supply.
However, as developing countries have industrialized, she said industry has seen strong advancement in efficiencies, whether it’s lighter materials for products or greater conservation of natural resources. A greater focus on efficiency, which may manifest in less fuel-dependent technologies and stricter climate policies, may lead to a de coupling of energy intensity that affects how industry proceeds in the future.
“Natural gas is so abundant and so cheap, and it can be landed in Asia at very competitive prices,” Byers said. “It’s about advances in material technology, material sciences, and then distributive power is a big item that I think could decrease demand. Those are some of the things that we think about and then wonder, how could we look at our organizations and overlay everything?”
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