The future of oil is here and it doesn’t look pretty for producers, manufacturers, and investors. As prices fall and oversupply continues, the once unsinkable industry is now floundering.
While oil prices have stabilized somewhat in recent months, there are good reasons to believe they won’t return to the high levels that preceded their historic collapse two years ago. First, shale oil production has permanently added to supply at lower prices. Also, demand will be curtailed by slower growth in emerging markets and global efforts to cut down on carbon emissions.
In the long term, the oil and gas industry faces daunting environmental pressures. We live on a warming planet is a scientific fact, as proved by eight successive months of record-breaking temperatures. For a few years now, concerns about global warming have continued to fuel a divestment movement that has advocated redirecting investments from fossil fuel companies. Good intentions have never been a compelling driver for investment decisions, yet investing in fossil fuel companies is no longer the safe choice it once was.
The world needs energy and in the coming years, demand for energy will indeed rise, but the assumption that this increase will result in a corresponding growth in oil demand is incorrect. The oil industry faces a decade that will begin with a short-lived boom followed by a slow and inescapable decline.
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