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Oil and gas executives outlook

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Pearson Partners International has released the results of its recent survey of over 200 senior executives from across the oil and gas energy spectrum, revealing the trends, issues and challenges they expect to see in 2015 and beyond. While these leaders’ five year outlook is optimistic, most expect their industry segments to have a challenging year this year, largely due to lower oil prices.

The year ahead

When respondents were asked how they expect their industry segment to perform this year compared to 2014, 19% reportedly said they expect their segments to perform moderately better or significantly better, and 59% said they expect their segment to perform moderately worse or significantly worse. Participants were also asked which industry segment will perform best this year, and two areas stood out being downstream and the majors.

When it came to the executives’ own companies 32% said that their companies will perform better than last year while 39% said worse. Also, 22% reportedly expect to see increased total headcounts at their companies this year, 36% expect to see lower headcounts and 42% expect employee numbers to remain the same. For capital spending, most companies expect a retreat from the record spending levels of the last few years. Approximately 17% also said they expect their companies to increase their capital spending, 54% said it will reduce.

Mergers and acquisitions

Respondents said that they expect mergers and acquisitions to increase a bit this year and certainly, the recent announcement of the US$34.6 billion Halliburton/Baker Hughes merger and the US$8.3 billion Talisman acquisition by Repsol is doing nothing but supporting this result, Pearson Partners has said. 70% of the executives surveyed said that they expect an increased level of mergers and acquisitions and only 16% said they expect less.


59% of respondents said that the average price of WTI oil this year will range between US$65 and US$80 /bbl. Approximately 34% of the executives said that the price will be between US$50 and US$65 /bbl. Very few of the respondents are reported to have felt that oil will go below US$50 or over US$80.

When it comes to natural gas, 67% of the participants said that they expect natural gas prices to average US$3 – 4 and 26% said natural gas will average US$4 – 5. Only 7% expected to see prices below US$3.

Five year outlook

Executives were asked how they expect their industry segment to perform over the next five years and 76% were positive saying significantly or moderately better. Only 6% were negative and 18% said that they expect their sector to be the same. Also when asked about individual companies 83% were positive and expected better performance over the next 5 years.

The two industry segments that are expected to perform better over the next five years, according to the executives that took part is independent exploration and production.


The top three drivers of opportunity according to the participants are; global economic recovery, new technology developments and increased use of natural gas. New technology developments in the areas of hydraulic fracturing and drilling are reported to be cited most often.


The three most significant challenge were listed as; global oversupply of oil and gas, unfavourable oil prices and increasing regulation/restrictions/taxes. Talent shortages were also brought up frequently with the number one issue in this category cited as the great crew change.

Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd

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