A decade from now, global exploration and production will be dominated by Australasia and Latin America, it is claimed.
Both regions will eclipse the current swing towards North America onshore, due to the shale gas and oil sands big push, West Africa and the Middle East.
But 15 years on and the stage will shift again, according to research commissioned by Maxwell Drummond, a recruitment consultancy.
More than 75% of respondents expect Russia to dominate and, astonishingly, Antarctica, even though very little is known about this icy continent’s oil & gas resources.
Compared with Maxwell Drummond’s 2010 survey, many of the swings in opinion were marked, notably for Latin America. Further surprises came to light when companies participating in the 2011 survey examined the energy mix in five, 10 and 15 years.
“In 2010, oil or gas was believed to be the most substantial contributor to the energy mix in five, 10 and 15 years,” the survey stated. “In 2011, unconventional energy sources and renewable energy sources were perceived as increasingly valuable contributors to the energy mix.”
The swing to alternative/renewable energies by 2026 or so is especially marked.
Methods of capitalising on the opportunities presented by the evolving energy mix appear not to be changing, with companies still preferring to trawl the marketplace for skilled people; indeed, the proportion of respondents preferring that route increases from 53% to 57.6% this time. Interestingly, companies are moving from using mergers and acquisitions to acquire the technological and regional abilities required to capitalise on the evolving energy mix (48% in 2010 to 36.4% in 2011) to developing more robust training and development programmes (35% in 2010 to 44.9% in 2011).
As for what seems set to dominate boardroom and dinner table talk over the next five years, two topics dominate: demand for oil and gas from emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil and security of supply, which sustains its position as the second most important topic.
However, safe and environmentally friendly production of unconventional oil and gas has decreased in prominence in the past year, as has the debate surrounding appropriately trained staff, having been top of the 2010 agenda.
Commenting on the survey’s findings, Sean Buchan, Maxwell Drummond’s Aberdeen-based director, said: “The first thing we’re drawn to is the shift in confidence from last year’s survey to this one.
“In 2010, about 85% of the respondent companies felt that we hadn’t recovered from the recession; this year only 45% of companies felt this way. That marks a huge shift in terms of confidence regarding post-recession recovery.
“The next point is the shift in geography focus. We’re interested in the rise of Latin America and Australasia. If I compare with 2010, 36% of respondents for Latin America felt it would become a key production and exploration region over the next 10 years; this year that’s up to 70%. For Australasia it was 22% in 2010; this year 70% of those who responded stated it would become a key E&P region over the next 10 years.”
Tom Faichnie, a partner at Campbell Dallas and a supporter of the Maxwell Drummond study, said: “This survey confirms what we hear from the local market. Management teams are ambitious for international growth.
“The £2billion a year windfall tax imposed on the North Sea in the recent Budget means internationalisation strategies are more important than ever for both UK and Aberdeen businesses.”
Mark Routh, chairman of Aberdeen-based Warrego Energy, said: “This survey confirms the growing significance of unconventional energy sources worldwide and crucially points to the prominence of geographical regions not normally considered conventional oil & gas territories.
“We anticipated this global shift four years ago, founded Warrego Energy, and acquired a promising portfolio of tight gas properties in Western Australia. We are currently working hard to unlock the first unconventional gas project in this region.”