The Perfect Storm in Oil Has Arrived

Blog Post created by katie.mehnert Champion on Aug 4, 2016

Crude prices are sinking.


(The new "bottom" spread is $15 - $30 depending on who you ask, and what day.)I know what you're all thinking.  Yep.  Here we go again.  And yes, in fact, here we go again. The perfect storm in oil has arrived. And I'm afraid it's going on a mind of its own, again.


So...I have to say. I'm a fan of Elon Musk.  In fact I think it's brilliant that the man is controlling the Lithium battery supply chain, building a GIGAFACTORY and creating attractive electric cars that could become mainstream quickly.  He's on a mission and his passion is sustainable energy.


But oil and gas isn't dead...yet.  I don't think it'll die completely...not in my lifetime,but it's going to change.  Big time. It already has.  This year I set out to study the Energy 2021 workforce with three of my colleagues David Skinner Jon Glesinger and Kevin Carpenter from GlexNet and KCA.  We've been looking at the talent pool for the near future.  And what we are learning is that companies didn't plan, haven't planned yet, aren't sure about the future, and have sent many skilled people packing with pink slips with no real talent solutions on the horizon.


One word: scary.


A few things to know about the future of oil and gas:


My dad and grandad's fossil fuel patch is gone. Hands down the business model needs more than "reorganization".  It needs to be turned upside down and reinvented.  We need to be more efficient and that means going beyond cutting out the waste.  It means we will need to take risks on innovation, people and stepping outside of ourselves. It's about changing the game.  It's not about the status quo.  (But I still see a ton of companies maintaining the status quo while they work their best people in 5-6, maybe 7 jobs?)


The industry will be and is already critically short on talent (both in the field and in the office).  This will only continue.  In our research, we've found that many have left industry behind, looking for the promises of something less volatile or to create new paths.  (To that, I say good luck.  It's a different world we live in and nothing is safe).  Still, we've found that most companies haven't got plans to retain, retrain or skill up talent.  What's your plan?  If you don't know, get worried.  It's going to be your #1 problem when the market stabilizes and it will also drive your success, longer-term.


The recovery will be SLOWER than anything we've ever imagined. It will be painful.  It won't be easy. And...it hasn't been.  We're well into two years at see-saw prices, crazy supply levels and geo-politics. And all of this makes the work environment of yesterday irrelevant.  There's a dawn of a new era in energy: efficiency with quality and innovative ways to drive new value and lower the total cost. Survival of the fittest?  Sure... if you want more cost cutting, mergers, share and asset sales. I'd like to think the "thrival" of the best ideas and risk takers will be the new rainmakers.  This means making cultural changes that have been needed for years.  It also means thinking about how to attract the right mix of talent who can CREATE this new paradigm and keeping them motivated to stay.


These are some dark times.


 But it is in dark, that we are able to begin to see.  I hope you're looking ahead to what you need.  Stay tuned as we will release findings from the Energy 2021 study in September on Pink Petro TV and we'll be at the WorkforceNext gathering of HR leaders in October.


My post originally appeared in LinkedIn