At the Oil and Gas Council, our role is to ensure we reflect our membership. It hasn’t escaped our notice that many of our members are undergoing efforts to realign their core business to a broader energy focus. Additionally, our network of financiers and investors are increasingly open to new opportunities that don’t sit in the traditional realms of upstream.
People talk of this energy transition being an ‘Uber’ moment for oil and gas producers, but I don’t view these changes as being anything quite as drastic. I feel a more helpful comparison is with large telecom utilities, which have had to grapple with major disruptions every decade since the 1980s. Yet for every CompuServe and VoIP service provider that has promised to revolutionise the market, we still buy our telephone services largely from the same operators.
Our network has been built around connectivity, trust, integrity and most important impartiality. This final pillar presents an important distinction to many of the initiatives currently being pursued in the clean energy space. I can’t help but feel that many of the options presented have a zero-sum formula at their core. Renewables vs. Gas. Wind vs. Solar etc. We know the thematic well. However, we also know that seldom is the equation that simple in business.
Netflix hasn’t led to the end of CNBC, ESPN or the BBC. We are now simply presented with a better range of choices. The energy mix is no different.
Energy Council – promoting renewables and gas
I view gas as being part of a more viable route to a low carbon future than is currently being touted by some commentators. Many of our member countries are challenged with the most basic of power conundrums – supply. In such instances gas unequivocally offers a better route to sustainable development goals. As an industry we need to be less apologetic about the role of gas. As U.S Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan taught us, ‘you are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.'
Coincidently, I find it odd that the investment levels of oil majors into low-carbon solutions are the subject of ridicule in some quarters with figures being paraded quite publicly next to their current O&G exploration CAPEX. In a highly fragmented market the scalable opportunities are simply limited. When they do exist, the industry is every bit as committed to renewables alongside their core business. We witnessed this with the sale of French battery manufacturer Saft Groupe $1.1 billion to Total. The majors are simply applying the same deal logic to this space as they would with any O&G business.
A final consideration is that the oil and gas industry has the technological, structural and capital strengths needed to accelerate the commercialisation of new energy technologies. Hubs of excellence are scattered all over the world, be it people, intellectual property or deployable technology. It would take a brave person to wager against the very industry that brought us the shale revolution. We are just getting started!
The need for industry sectors to converge to shape the future of energy has never been greater. Our members are looking for bankable deals in the new converging energy space and the Energy Council serves as a focal point for them, as they follow investment trends. Our platform will continuously provide information on the latest developments, and we will always be open to your input.