Today’s oil & gas decision makers are facing a completely new—and constantly changing—set of challenges. We’ll walk through a few of the movements shaping the industry right now, so you can get a sense of our approach.

Introduction

In the years since the oil & gas market downturn, recovery has been slow—but moving in the right direction. In fact, 2018 showed some record improvements: oil prices are up; supply and demand have begun to even out; and capex investments are (finally!) on the rise. But analysts say oil & gas isn’t out of the woods yet. Even on an industry upswing, the foreseeable future is marked by volatility. Geopolitical issues could affect global supply. Deferred maintenance practices have left physical assets weakened. Trade and tariff policies may be changing—and the impacts of all these potential threats remain to be seen.

But progress is possible even amidst unknowns. Here are a few industry drivers oil & gas players can focus on to help improve their businesses.

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Industry Trend #1

Old problems, new solutions: an emphasis on innovation

This is an interesting moment for oil & gas. Behind the scenes, budgets have grown tighter and tighter, and the term “capital discipline” has inevitably been seared into every financial decision maker’s brain. But that’s not to say there aren’t smart investments to be made. Investments that answer the need to “do more with less,” while also addressing the oilfield’s changing needs.

Yep, we’re talking about investments in technology. From reducing human error to anticipating equipment failures—technology is here to help, and we’re seeing it implemented in many ways. But technology alone isn’t innovation. In an industry that wants fail-proof solutions (and wants them right now), the most innovative thing oil & gas can do? Get more comfortable with the idea of failure. (Yes, we know that’s a shocking statement. We’ll give you a moment.) Identifying weak points early on in projects is how teams can iterate and innovate—and it’s the first step toward continuous improvement. So we say get to know failure. Bake it into processes. Show that it’s only scary if you don’t anticipate it.

Fostering innovative mindsets is hard work, but it’s possible. We can help.

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Industry Trend #2

Getting to work: a shifting employment landscape

Right now, there are two big movements shaping the industry’s approach to employment. The first is automation. Generally, automation is considered a sign of progress on an industry level. But on the heels of mass layoffs, automation is an idea that makes some employees (especially field workers) feel less secure in their jobs. The reality: while automation can mean temporary job loss or reshuffling, it also means big opportunities for employees to enjoy safer work environments and to grow into more specialized roles. There’s a clear need for oil & gas companies to address these concerns.

The second movement changing the face of oil & gas hiring: The Great Crew Change. As an industry, a new generation of oil & gas thinkers and doers is being ushered in—just as historic amounts of seasoned veterans are leaving the field for good. There’s a need to capture the tribal knowledge of departing experts, while nurturing the fresh ideas new entrants are bringing to the industry.

Whether you want to educate and reassure your current employees, capture the knowledge of seasoned vets, or create programs to address new types of technologies and employees—we can help make it happen.

Industry Trend #3

Broadening your energy horizons: folding in low-carbon assets

We promise: hippies didn’t force us to write this one. Even before the term “peak oil” was coined in 1956, researchers have been working on ways to address energy needs from low-carbon sources. Now, we’re seeing numerous, large-scale projects popping up with plans to incorporate non-traditional fuel systems. For example: did you know New York City plans to convert its public bus system to an all-electric fleet by 2040? That’s huge—and it’s just one example. Today’s major oil & gas companies need to make sure they have a seat at the table.

We don’t think the conversation is about replacing hydrocarbons. We think it’s about the coexistence of hydrocarbons and low-carbon options—and imagining what that world would look like. Major industry players are in a prime position to drive those conversations, especially considering how many are already dedicating part of their R&D budgets toward low-carbon and sustainable sources.

If your company is making headway in alternative fuels, it may be time to tell that story. Here’s just one of the ways we can help.

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Now that we’ve given you some food for thought—let’s think on it together.

We’re here with expert strategists who can help you get to the heart of your business needs—and seasoned UX, creative, and development teams to create the solutions. If you want to get together, look at some past work samples, and talk through some possible approaches, we’re ready when you are.

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