The topic of the day and I don’t think it will change for the rest of 2020 is uncertainty. It is present in all aspects of our lives. It is present in our weekly and monthly plans, in our confidence in our jobs, upcoming projects, and future of the industries.
The oil and gas industry was in a vulnerable position before the Coronavirus outbreak.So, where do you think there are industry recovery and growth opportunities?
The playbook for fiscal responsibility has an accepted approach in the low-price environment: cut cost. But what gets cut first, and do we cut an opportunity to grow in the future? If you could find Guyana basin now- would you?
We continue to explore these questions in private conversations with C-Level Executives testing different perceptions shared behind closed doors. We hope these insights are considered to help the industry to emerge from the crisis in a better state.
Q 1: Where do you see growth opportunities for an E&P organization? How can the companies sustain themselves in the current business climate?
A: I think large E&P companies will do less and less of exploration and the emphasis on finding oil and gas purely from efficiency perspective will be from smaller privately backed companies where expertise in specific plays and basins will be understood and what will happen is E&P companies will buy those reserves, i.e., discovered resource opportunities will now become the mechanism for replacing production.
Q 2: How do you balance the need to replace reserves with the need to constrain significant capital expenditures?
A: Big capital projects are all about developing and producing resources. I don’t think it will change.
Q 3: Do you think it will also shift to smaller companies?
A:I think the exploration part will shift to smaller companies. So the large E&P companies, multi-nationals, will become predominantly production companies and smaller entities will do exploration with less visibility.
Q 4: So,for these smaller entities to be attractive for investment, what essential knowledge is a “must-have” when entering into a new geography?
A: People will talk in terms of been “basin masters” and technical experts, so smaller companies will live and die on wither they are not able to deliver to their investors—the reason these companies are set up with private money so they to make a profit.And of course, there are considerable profits to be made with a successful exploration. So they will live and die on their reputation, their expertise,and the ability to execute.
Q 5: Are there technologies that can reduce risk and help with dealing with uncertainty in exploration?
A: My short answer is: absolutely not. It is about expertise; it is about the experience. The industry has never been less experienced, and therefore people tend to look for a quick solution that would reduce all the risk and the exposure that might be from the capital and reputational. It is not about the idea that the answers will fall out from the use of AI and Big Data interrogation. It is all about skilled, integrated human thinking.