January 2017 President's Page
An Emerging Dawn
Well, 2016 has been an interesting year… Trump is in, the UK is heading out and OPEC is finally starting to play ball (for the time being and for what it’s worth!)
I am delighted to report that hints of optimism are beginning to creep back into the psyche of our industry, amongst our colleagues and importantly amongst our investors and board members. Are we indeed coming to the end of the latest E&P downturn? A large number of us are starting to feel so. Confidence is slowly returning.
Of course, there are still significant challenges. None more pronounced than the level of capital investment which has halved in Europe since the oil price fall in 2014. With exploration spend often viewed as discretionary our field has been particularly badly hit. However, the decline has stabilised, costs are rebalancing, performance has improved and the oil price is showing some recent buoyancy. Let’s all hope that this confidence continues and translates into more positive tangible results.
The Society has come through the downturn in good shape. This is very much to the credit of Colin Percival’s leadership as 2016 President, a supportive Council and the hard work of the office team headed up by Maria Iredale. With healthy finances and a clear strategy we are well position to continue to deliver on our society’s objectives.
We will continue to focus on delivering the best benefits that we can to our membership. This includes low cost networking and knowledge sharing events, training courses and field trips. Our new website will be going live around April this year (finally!). This will significantly enhance how we communicate and interface with our membership and the public. Our membership numbers have seen recent growth and we are seeking to continue this upward trajectory. This can only be done through demonstrating the value that the Society brings to its diverse membership, from university student to industry retiree.
Latest industry estimates indicate that around 30% of geoscientist roles have been lost through this downturn. Many of these positions will be involved in exploration. This is a profound loss to the industry’s growth engine and we must seek to replenish this talent as the market continues to improve. Support for members who are not currently in full time employment is vital and the Society will continue to make this a priority. Another area that we will continue to focus on is in developing bright young graduates. We need these individuals to bring fresh thinking and new ideas to help innovate and to open up new basins and plays that we know are needed to sustain future growth. The Society plays an important role in this through its MSc sponsorship programme and its active Young Professional group. Furthermore, mentorship is vital in the development of young talent and the Society is able to put together experienced professionals with recent entrants to the industry. These efforts will continue through 2017 with the Society taking a longer term strategic view on how best to deliver these services.
Our Outreach programme is vital to achieving our charitable objective of educating the public in the scientific and technical aspects of petroleum exploration. You will see the Society being more proactive in how it engages in these efforts and working with other aligned societies and organisations. It is also vital that we continue to communicate to the public about the benefits that the petroleum exploration industry brings to Society.
I am much looking forward to working with the new 2017 Council and office team in order to continue to improve what the PESGB has to offer for its members and wider society. As ever your feedback is fundamental in ensuring that we focus our efforts on making this Society even better. It is an honour to serve as your President and I wish you all the very best for 2017.