What Is The Future Of The Oil Industry?
Oil, and gas powered a century of economic growth and damaged the planet's climate in the process which leaves the oil and gas industry in an existential panic in the short term, demand is down because of the pandemic in the long term. Well, there are two new reports out offering very different visions of the future NPR's Cumulus Domino ski covers energy and joins us now hi Camilla. Tell us about these two new reports where are they coming from? Yes, so they offer very divergent perspectives and let's start with the idea that oil will come roaring back. This is assuming that once the pandemic is over, someday, it will be over and the economy will recover oil will come back a demand will be there. The developing world is GONNA guzzle more and more of it back to business as usual. This is the view that was laid out by OPEC, cartel of oil exporting countries in their annual report called the Wu. then. Yeah the WOO WOO oil. Then there's different version of the future that was laid out by the International Energy Agency which a very influential group they said maybe that happens, but maybe the world takes action on climate change and if appropriate action is taken, oil demand could start going down and might even have peaked already. So is the main divergence in these two reports the assumptions about whether the world will take climate change seriously and to to slow it down. Yeah. That's the fundamental disagreement in this debate has been around for a long time while the World Act aggressively when will that happen? When will oil peak but right now this pandemic, which is you know we use the word unprecedented so much but something unprecedented has happened. There's a dramatic drop in demand for oil massive job losses across the sector, and that has made some people wonder could something else unprecedented happened? Could this unusual moment lead to an unusual level of action from world? Governments Arrive Faster or are you OPEC and you look at this and say the pandemic is just a blip and we'll be back to normal once it's over I'll note to there's there's one thing that both sides and pretty much everybody agrees on which is that the current pledges, the policies that are in place from world governments now are not enough to keep global warming at the two degrees Celsius that was committed to Paris or to shift the world meaningfully away from relying primarily on oil. So. That would require a huge transition from from what's currently happening or oil companies making those kinds of transitions i? Mean they have to make decisions today based on which one of these two futures they think is the most likely, right? Yeah. Absolutely, and you can see that split playing out a company's just to take two examples Exxon is doubling down on fossil. Fuels predicting a future in which there is still robust demand for gas and they. They'll be there to meet it meanwhile BP formerly British Petroleum they're they're projecting the world might be moving really aggressively and in they want to be there pivoting renewables trying to figure out how to make money money on a world that's transitioning away from their core product Some investors Nicole about so companies right now are placing their bets betting everything on which version of the world they think is more likely. It's hard to imagine any higher stakes here not only the future of those massive companies but like the future of the planet potentially literally I mean Exxon is right on the future is a lot like the present we're. Burning lots of oil which has had the disastrous climate consequences that we see unfolding and if BP and a lot of European super majors are correct. Then governments around the world might penalize carbon emissions, promote renewables. It would mean huge shifts in the energy industry, but it would help prevent the worst impacts for the planet like you said, NPR's Domino Ski. Thank