JANUARY 2016 PRESIDENT'S PAGE
Prospects for 2016?
2015 has been an extremely tough year for the industry. The focus has been entirely on cash flow with depressed oil and gas prices leading to a large drop in income and therefore extreme focus on reducing costs and maximising production. This has resulted in significant cuts in activity and staff, which has affected all of us to some degree. This is particularly so in the case of the North Sea where ageing infrastructure and an ageing workforce has resulted in decommissioning and retirement being the most common subject matter of the day. We will of course emerge from this, as the world still needs oil and gas as no acceptable replacement exists that the majority of the world’s consumers can afford. The issue is what shape we will be in when we finally do see a pick-up in activity. It is particularly important during these times that the PESGB provides support, advice and networking and low cost training opportunities for our members.
Against this backdrop, the activities of the PESGB have been maintained in 2015 with some notable successes including the Stoneley Lecture, DEVEX, PROSPEX, PGC 8 and the regular menu of courses, field trips and evening lectures. This has been achieved whilst maintaining a balanced budget and continuing our high level of charitable disbursements. I would like to thank all the council members and the office staff for making this happen, and all our members for supporting our activities. One area of notable success in 2015 has been engagement with our members. It was extremely encouraging to get such a good response to the 2015 PESGB membership questionnaire. The feedback is extremely valuable, and we will be working hard in 2016 to implement the major themes that arose from the responses. In particular we will look to increase our membership benefits and online presence and review our disbursement strategy. It was also encouraging to see a high level of voting in the elections and positions being contested. It is important that our members have a choice, and exercise that choice by voting. I welcome all the new council members, but would also like to thank those who stood but were unsuccessful. Don’t let this put you off, there is always another chance, and it would be great to have all positions contested on a regular basis.
As we progress into 2016 there is no doubt it will be a tough year given that company budgets will have been set at $40 barrel. The society enters it in good shape but mindful of the challenges ahead. Areas we will need to focus on are ensuring PETEX is a success and looking at delivering a broad range of membership services at low cost and in locations (or online) that meet members requirements. We are conscious that we need respond to the industry climate and look at discounted rates for those not in full time employment. There is no doubt that in 2016 it will be a challenge to maintain our membership level, deliver our services and a balanced budget.
We are delighted that Maria Iredale has joined to head up the PESGB office team as Executive Director. Guy Elliott who left the role at the end of 2015 did a fantastic job to leave the society in such a healthy position, and I wish him well in his new challenge. Maria joins the society at a difficult time for the industry, but with a lot of opportunity to grow the society when we come out of this downturn. I believe that we can make the PESGB the Number 1 Petroleum Exploration Society focussed on Europe and Africa, we just need to deliver the membership benefits that encourage people to renew their membership and for new people to join. A healthy and growing membership will give us the platform to increase our disbursements and target this at education directly related to petroleum exploration. I do not expect 2016 to be a year of growth, but we can put in place a plan that enables this to happen as conditions improve. As ever your feedback is fundamental in ensuring that we focus our efforts on our members’ requirements. I wish you well for 2016.