2017 already promises to be an exciting yet challenging year for energy asset owners and operators, with a new presidential administration in charge, a growing skills gap in the industry’s workforce and new, disruptive technologies increasingly entering the fray. However, volatility is not new for this industry. In fact, since deregulation in the early 1990’s it has been one of the biggest catalysts for advancements and innovations in the oil and gas sector.
Based on conversations with several of the largest upstream, midstream and downstream asset operators and owners, as well as drawing from our more than 20 years of experience in the industry, we have developed five key predictions for 2017. We believe that the following have the potential to be gamer changers for the energy industry in the coming months:
1. As a result of the new presidential administration, we anticipate that policy positions may affect the natural gas industry in a number of ways, including:
a. Increased and ongoing exploration of natural resources in the United States.
b. Both new and resumed construction on a growing network of energy infrastructure, primarily in the form of expanded pipeline and transport operations.
c. Potential deregulation on the operations and speculation of natural resources.
d. Increased potential for wider, more rapid fluctuations in the global commodities markets.
2. Cyber attacks on critical energy infrastructure will significantly increase, especially as the distinction between information technology (IT) systems and operational technology (OT) systems continues to blur.
3. The retirement boom will continue to intensify and smaller operators will be squeezed the most. Even as new workers continue to join the workforce, companies will be forced to turn towards more automation in order to enable business continuity.
4. As North American gas markets continue to shift toward a just-in-time supply structure, we predict that the industry will see an increasing number of supply interruptions.
5. The ever-increasing number of sensors connected to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) along natural gas pipelines will lead to information overload for many pipeline asset owners. Companies will need to turn to technology and software solutions to help them manage the huge volumes of data and derive actionable insights from it.
To read greater detail about each of these predictions and how they are likely to impact your business over the next year, please view our whitepaper here