PwC global energy lead explains results from oil CEO survey

By Luke Geiver | March 08, 2017

Niloufar Molavi understands the language of business. She is currently the Global & US Energy Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers and she has served a wide range of energy companies. We spoke with Molavi about the health of the shale industry as it emerges from a downturn cycle and what the 20th edition of PwC CEO survey reveals about the way energy executives (and Molavi’s clients) view the world. 

Why is the survey so valuable? 

Our clients get a big value from the results. What people are always interested in is what their peers are doing, what they are seeing in their respective industries and, how they are looking at the world. The survey is anonymous. Even we don’t know how our clients respond, that way, hopefully everyone can be honest. 

What stood out to you from the survey? 

One thing I looked for was how CEOs felt about their sector and if we [oil and gas] are back to focusing on growth or are we focusing on survival. I think the tide is shifting. People are a lot more confident and there is some stability in prices. The cost cutting measures have changed and now the focus is growth. 

The other thing that stood out to me, and it got reconfirmed, was the notion of the wave of change around technology. The industry feels strongly that we will continue to have more automation and we will continue to use technology differently, but that won’t be the cause of headcount reductions. The type of resources you will need will look very different and the skills you will need in the industry will also look very different in the future. 

How would you classify the health of the industry based on your work on or followings of company balance sheets?

Overall, I think the industry looks pretty healthy. Strong balance sheets are only going to get stronger as we go through the upturn.


From the survey, (83 oil and gas CEOs participated) the PwC team also noted three main trends.

-50 percent said automation and other technologies will not decrease headcount

-More than 75 percent believe technological threats to a company will stem from social media risks, cybersecurity and IT outages

-Innovative technology related to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing will be the key to diversifying methods for acquiring energy sources.


To view the full survey, click here