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The Implications of a $200/bbl World

How will the industry change if the $200 barrel becomes a reality in the market?
Can supply expand to keep up with demand exceeding projections?

March 2013 :: Algarve, Portugal


Technical Agenda

These exciting topics will be discussed in an open setting designed for optimal input from all participants.

Session 1: Will our industry have to adapt to a sustained, high
oil price?

Session Co-Chairs: John Corben and Leo Roodhart

This introductory session sets the context for the Forum by considering various projections of world energy needs and the implications for oil supply, price levels and industry. Different scenarios and diverse approaches from multiple sources will be discussed to provide a framework for subsequent sessions. What are the future macro-economic, policy or industrial conditions that could lead to sustained price levels in the order of $200/bbl? What is considered to be the “most likely” future path of oil supply and demand? How could this affect the relative importance that geographical regions, governments and companies have on oil markets? What effects might this have on the world economy? Does the future pathway present a change from previous trends? Does the pathway appear to be justified by the factors discussed?

Session 2: Increasing recovery via EOR

Session Co-Chair: George Koperna

This session will explore how high oil prices unlock the potential for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies to increase average recovery factors. Tertiary flooding processes (such as polymer, thermal, carbon dioxide, nanotechnologies, etc.) will be discussed, highlighting amenable reservoir characteristics, technology applicability and the price/cost hurdles that may lead to widespread adoption. What effects might this have on the availability of resources in different environments and different regions? What are the challenges that will need to be overcome to access and extract these additional resources and how would industry need to adapt to tackle the opportunities? What future occurrences could disrupt this positive vision?

Session 3: Exploitation of frontier environments – exploration, development and production

Session Co-Chairs: David Brookes and Pieter Kapteijn

The third session will review the challenges presented by:

  • Difficult resources in frontier areas
  • Low quality reserves
  • HP/HT
  • Harsh and remote environments (ultra-deepwater, arctic etc.)
  • Increased regulatory and environmental pressures and changing societal expectations
  • Industry demographics and trends in risk/rewards for upstream players

Does the industry have the capacity and technology to deliver this? A discussion of the opportunities presented by innovative technologies, unlimited bandwidth and computing power, novel materials and deep integration of resource and energy systems. How do we prepare ourselves for this future and what has our track record been in handling fundamental changes?

Session 4: Are we sure that the barrel will get heavier and heavier?

Session Co-Chairs: Ivan Sandrea and John Corben

The production of heavy and extra-heavy oil, as well as bitumen and oil obtained from kerogen in oil shale, has grown significantly and is expected to contribute increasingly more to the future oil supply, underpinned by a significant resource base. Current technology, combined with extraction costs and high oil prices, allow economic exploitation of large quantities of these resources and pilot projects are under way to study other resource categories. At the same time there is growing concern over the social and environmental impacts of extraction and use of these resources. What volume of resource that is currently too expensive to extract might become economic in the future? What technological advances are coming and are needed to further reduce the footprint and impact of developments? What trade-offs do we visualise between energy use for extraction and conversion, energy produced, CO2 emissions, energy security and other concerns? What effects would increased exploitation of these resources, or not, have on our industry, and what future events could drastically change the outcome?

Session 5: The role of alternative energy in the future energy mix

Session Co-Chairs: Capella Festa and Leo Roodhart

It becomes increasingly clear that the world has enough hydrocarbon reserves to last for yet another century. However most of these future reserves belong to the category “difficult” or “challenging” e.g. shale oil, shale gas, ultra deep water, Arctic etc. Next to the technical challenges to develop these reserves, there will be huge environmental and social issues to tackle if we want to continue to provide the world with hydrocarbons as the main source of energy. Demand may also outgrow supply, particularly if the developing world continues to grow at the same rate it is growing now.  Therefore renewable energy will become more and more part of the total energy mix. Solar energy and wind are leading at the moment but new technologies are under development to extract heat from the earth or energy from waves and currents. In a scenario with sustained oil prices around $200/bbl, more alternative forms of energy will become economical. A number of questions are facing us:

  • What is the potential of these alternatives and what is the timescale?
  • What will be the blockers?
  • What will facilitate the transition to low carbon technologies?
  • What are the technology gaps?
  • Should the oil and gas industry see alternative energies as an opportunity or a threat?

Session 6: Court case - conventional vs. alternative energy

Session Co-Chairs: Jan-Erik Nordtvedt and Pieter Kapteijn

“Don Quixote was wrong!” The windmills have won and the age of oil and gas is over.

Session 7: Energy conversion, storage and transport

Session Co-Chairs: Wim Schinkel and Kamel Bennaceur

Hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon energy sources can be converted into a wide variety of products. The established conversion routes (such as oil to chemicals and gas liquefaction) may not necessarily be the most profitable ones in a world where the resource cost is high and only reduced or small footprints (CO2, water, energy consumption etc.) are acceptable. However not all resources will be necessarily high priced. There may be local abundances (e.g. US shale gas) or stranded resources.

Conversion is a key middle layer in the energy playing field and in this session we will explore how in a future of high oil prices, world conversion can be used to open new business opportunities. What is the outlook for existing XTL options in a high oil price, low footprint world? What new energy efficient conversion options would become possible? Which conversion routes are margin increasers or open up stranded resources? What role is conversion playing in nonhydrocarbon energy sources? What are the key blockers and enablers and what technology is needed.

Session 8: Meeting the Environmental Challenges: From Climate to Frontier Areas

Session Co-Chairs: David White and Svein Ildgruben

How does the oil and gas industry have to behave in order to be accepted as responsible custodians for the pristine frontier, harsh and sensitive areas? Will key stakeholders - regulators, politicians, environmental NGOs and the public - allow the industry to operate in these areas after the reputational damage from the serious incidents of the last few years? The environment extends to the global climate, what are the implications for O&G production, the role of Gas and CCS. Trust is key, but how can the oil and gas industry gain that? What is the price tag of meeting the stakeholder expectations and will it be economic? How can we quantify and balance all the risks vs. the economic drivers and need for increased energy production? We will draw together these elements from the previous Forum sessions during the week and introduce some new speakers to lead the debate. Our objective is to prioritise the challenges and discuss the potential paths to solutions.

Session 9: The implications – key takeaways

Session Co-Chairs: Leo Roodhart and John Corben

In this last, ‘wrap-up’ session we will try to formulate a view whether $200 oil is a curse or a blessing to the Industry. Current industry forecasts generally feature a gradual increase of price towards  levels attained during previous short-term peaks. Insights gained from previous sessions of this forum may allow us to explore the implications of even higher price levels, and discuss whether our industry is prepared for the challenges that this could imply. These could include changes in demand; location and concentration of activity; ownership of resources; and effects on oil markets and energy security. What should be done to prepare for this potential future pathway?