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29 January 2020

Oil and gas: why we need a new innovation ecosystem



At Inno Energy's ‘The Business Booster’, leaders from Repsol, Equinor, GA Drilling, Total Energy Ventures and PwC gathered to talk openly about the capability of the oil and gas industry to tackle the energy transition. Reflecting on the discussion, the comments from all speakers would frequently come back to two intrinsically related themes: collaboration and capability. 



The IEA’s latest World Energy Outlook 2019 is bleak: “The momentum behind clean energy technologies is not enough to offset the effects of an expanding global economy and growing population. While global oil demand is expected to slow from 2025, this does not represent a definitive peak. Whichever pathway the energy system follows, the world still relies heavily on oil supply from the Middle East,” the IEA writes. Furthermore, even as oil demand slows, gas demand is set to increase. Though cleaner alternatives like biomethane and hydrogen may play a role, this is largely driven by global expansion of LNG capacity. 


It’s true that oil and gas production can’t just stop. While there’s a societal pressure to tackle climate change, there is a similar pressure to maintain or improve living standards, particularly in the developing world. There is perhaps a misconception that international oil companies (IOCs) have all the capabilities they need to tackle climate change, and that inaction is simply a result of a poor stakeholder value. But as one panelist put it, “We don’t have the solution hidden in a room,” and suggested that in fact most do want to be part of the solution. It’s a question of capability; the stumbling block is working out how. 

An invite for solutions from ‘outside’

Collaborate! Or fail?

Championing bolder steps