By Saad al-Kuwari
• The Covid-19 crisis, the economic slowdown, and the continued prosperity of oil, gas and petrochemical companies
• Risky bets, national oil companies and the energy transition and privatisation to alleviate high operating costs
• The demand for oil may not reach its peak for another decade, and the liquefied natural gas industry is facing challenges and competition in the market
The unique situation of the oil market, its derivatives, congested gas, and the massive decline in demand led to the testing of the next two stages of institutional flexibility planning, which is very important for all oil and gas companies to overcome this difficult stage.
Oil and gas companies around the world are grappling with the appropriate response to the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) for their employees, customers and businesses, as well as the repercussions of the volatility of the price of oil and its derivatives.
For many international and national organisations and companies, the current crisis is considered an opportunity not only for survival, but also for prosperity. But to achieve this, it needs to develop a long-term strategy for the optimal use of the natural resources that God Almighty has favoured us by transforming them into high-value products and reducing their export as raw materials and avoiding recurrence.
Existing projects without economic and marketing feasibility are integrated. For example, crude oil, natural and liquefied petroleum gas, ammonia, ethylene and polyethylene.
It is possible to extract high-value products instead of exporting those raw or intermediate materials or doubling their production due to the difference in market standards, demand and price in time.
The countries producing these primary products are now applying for a strategy of “conversion and extraction” to maximise revenues, reduce risks and avoid volatility in the oil market, with the aim of converting them into added value. This is called a “value chain” in several fields, including refining, petrochemicals, chemical fertilisers, gas industry, primary and transformational industries.
At the present time, with the change in the philosophy of the oil and gas industry, it is necessary to follow an integrated and comprehensive strategy with the private sector and the foreign partner and apply the principle of privatisation for several alternative and transformative industries in light of the upcoming challenges in the oil, gas and energy markets and not merge them into the umbrella of national companies to rationalise operating expenses.
It will not address the issue of long-term challenges, revenues and expenses, and it is considered a temporary view that is not based on solid foundations.
For example, in Qatar we import bitumen, ethylene, chemical and organic additives, auxiliary agent, compounds and various types of fertilisers and aluminium. We also import some petroleum products sometimes such as jet fuel, gasoline and diesel during the periodic maintenance operations of refineries and other products to meet the requirements of the local market. And it is easy to manufacture and produce in Qatar, as is the case in the rest of the neighbouring countries.
In this article, I will briefly touch upon some of the pivotal points that can be taken into account in the strategy to diversify the economy basket and maximise oil and gas revenues, oil and gas and petrochemicals.
Oil and gas officials may consider the medium-term implications of decisions as they finalise the course of action and especially future projects – this is where the corporation’s data strategies will separate the winners from the losers.
The ability to distinguish between what is left of (KTLO) spending and important programs and discretionary spending is essential to overcome this difficult time, and many institutions and oil and gas companies are still reeling from the position of freezing all expenditures since the price collapse in 2014-2015 and at the present time the prices are low due to coronavirus pandemic and global economic slowdown.
For organisations on the road to being more resilient and with specific value flows, the Covid-19 case is a great test – they should be able to look at the value streams that are still achieving (or are expected to achieve) high value and focus on those, while cutting back on others.
For B2B companies, these companies may or may not end up facing them, and a good example of this is that a debugger might look for optimisation-oriented value streams against clients or clients.
Also, working with remote work teams, it is also important to think about how to provide value when distributing your team by finding representative offices in several countries to market your products and ensure the flow of market information and thus explore business opportunities and future projects.
The current situation of the coronavirus and the economic slowdown in consumption: It can give oil and gas companies a model strategy for customer and partner data, through a real understanding of customer and partner behaviour, preferences and intent, and a strategic plan for related products from your organisation or partner organisations (for example, floating storage capacity or warehouses, external joint ventures to benefit from final products instead of feedstocks in developing markets, “Raw Material”, which can provide an alternate flow of revenue from selling high value end products and thus maximise revenue.
In a B2B context, it is equally important to know customers, buyers, and ultimate customers, in such cases, staying close to customers who have long-term contracts and are the end users, are worried about supply chain disruption or are looking for supplier flexibility in light of diminishing demand (for example, a refinery that has a long-term contract with a major oil company, electricity companies, petrochemical plants, fertilisers, etc).
Conclusion: In the event that national oil companies continue their current course, they will invest more than $400bn in high-cost oil and gas projects that will achieve parity only if humanity exceeds the targets related to reducing carbon emissions and allows the global temperature to rise by more than two degrees Celsius.
One thing looks certain – either the world will achieve what is necessary to curb global warming, or the national oil companies push ahead with their investments. The two things are not possible, together.
*Saad Abdulla al-Kuwari is an expert in oil and gas and is exploring the future of energy.