Oil Surveys Show Change

By North American Shale magazine staff | March 31, 2017

Niloufar Molvai is quick to point out that the CEO survey her teams helps to run has been around for 20 years. The survey, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, can indicate trends to come and in some cases, Molvai says, how accurately past CEO predictions and thoughts were over time. As the Global Energy Leader for PwC, Molvai pays attention to input from oil and gas CEOs.

This year’s survey showed that oil and gas executives are moving past survival mode and into growth planning. “I think the tide is shifting,” Molvai said. “People are a lot more confident and there is some stability in prices. The cost-cutting measures have changed and now the focus is on growth.”

According to the survey, 69 percent of oil and gas CEOs believe organic growth this year is the No. 1 priority. Innovation is also an area where oil execs are focused. “The industry feels strongly that we will continue to have more automation and we will continue to use technology differently,” Molvai said. “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.”

New technology or automated processes won’t necessarily reduce headcount, however. According to the survey, 41 percent of CEOs intend to increase headcount this year while 27 percent may actually decrease headcount.

As an experienced accountant who has worked with major energy clients across the globe, Molvai said that despite the recent industry downturn, many companies have emerged with strong balance sheets. Oil prices are not yet where most want or need them, she added, but stability in pricing has given most the ability to chart an operational course this year. “Overall, I think the industry looks pretty healthy. Strong balance sheets are only going to get stronger as we go through the upturn,” she said.