The oil and gas industry is facing some of the toughest challenges in several decades. We’ve seen sharp declines in the price of oil, and the lows are lasting longer than we had hoped. While the industry is absolutely looking through the cycle and preparing for recovery, we must also face the reality of today’s market. That means drawing a clear path forward that is effective in the current environment, while we wait for supply and demand to reach equilibrium.
Facing reality involves answering the question of how to navigate in a tough market. You don’t wait around, hoping for things to improve. Rather, you face the facts, doing what’s required in the short term to make sure you’re well-positioned for the longer term. Most likely, this involves thinking about things in a different way than you have in the past. You may no longer be able to implement your standard solution, but you do the next best thing for your company to operate successfully in the current market. We often become accustomed to getting things done by throwing more people at the problem, versus seeking out the best, most sustainable solution. In any market, but even more so in today’s market, it is absolutely critical that we find ways to execute more effectively and efficiently.
Although the oil and gas industry is currently in a downturn, the market has been good many times in the past and will most certainly rebound in the future. Over nine million people in the U.S. alone make their living by working in this industry, and it always excites me to see younger generations finding their passion for it. I am still just as passionate about the work I do today as when I began my career in oil and gas over 20 years ago. There are ups and downs in any industry, but the key to a long, successful career is to do work that really inspires you.
I am inspired each and every day because I absolutely believe that fossil fuels are the right and best choice for energy. They are the cheapest, most abundant, most reliable energy source available to us, and without a doubt they play a critical role in our everyday lives. Hydrocarbons have done more than any other energy source to improve our life span, eradicate disease, and lift people out of poverty.
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Alex Epstein, a young author who has written a book that does a great job of reframing our industry to better represent its importance to the progress of human life. In “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” Alex says: “Mankind’s use of fossil fuels is supremely virtuous – because human life is the standard of value, and because using fossil fuels transforms our environment to make it wonderful for human life.” I believe this, and recommend this book to young thought leaders, especially those looking to pursue a career in oil and gas. This book is a critical, fact-based evaluation of our industry, and I believe we all owe it to ourselves to be informed on these issues.
For those of you who find the passion, do the research, and ultimately decide to pursue a career in oil and gas — welcome. This industry can offer you a rewarding, fulfilling career, in spite of the ups and downs. Above all else, do what you believe in, and believe in what you do. The industry will come back — it always does, as the world faces an ever-growing demand for energy.