Rise Early, Work Hard, Strike Oil
Helge Lund, President And CEO Of Statoil ASA
Mr. Helge Lund took up the post of President and CEO of Statoil in 2004. He had previously been Chief Executive of Aker Kvaerner. Before assuming executive positions in industry, Mr. Lund had been a political adviser to the Conservative Party in the Norwegian Parliament and a consultant with McKinsey & CO. A business economist, Mr. Lund is a graduate of the Norwegian School of Economics and Administration and has his MBA from Insead, France. Statoil is a member of the Joint Committee of companies that is advising host country Qatar on the development of the agenda of the 2nd International Energy Business Forum that will take place in conjunction with the 10th IEF Ministerial.
In a period of comparatively high oil prices, the notion of «peak oil» appears to have gained prominence: If you do a Google search of the term «peak oil», your browser is likely to return nearly 2 million hits. The pages popping up warn that we should start preparing for the post fossil fuel era. It is a paradox that a web search for «oil» and «gas» «discoveries» returns a mere 300,000 hits…
The fear that the world will soon run out of oil has been a concern to most global decision-makers since the 1970s. This concern reminds me of the ancient fears that the sky would suddenly fall down.
Comfort can be sought in the history of the oil and gas industry: Since 1980, global consumption of oil has increased by more than 30 per cent. In the same period the world's oil reserves have grown by almost 80 per cent. This development is the result of human creativity, ground-breaking engineering and massive technological progress.
An example from my own company illustrates my point: Cutting edge technology and a strong competence base on reservoir management and IOR have enabled us to add substantial reserves and value from our legacy «elephants» offshore Norway: On the Statfjord field we have improved recovery by 900 million barrels since 1982. When we started production from the Gullfaks field in 1986, we expected to recover 1.3 billion barrels. In May this year we passed 2 billion barrels and we have now set our sights on 2.5 billion. We currently aim to reach a recovery factor of 70 per cent for our platform fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
IOR is not only responsible resource management and good business. It will also be a critical activity to grow global production to meet future demand.
The growing energy demand presents great opportunities to oil and gas companies around the world. However, also in the future we will face challenges that we have to solve:
- We need to replace production and reserves in an industrial environment where competition is harder than ever and where net debt is lower than in 25 years.
- We need to meet growing energy demand while at the same time contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are set to double by 2030.
- We face execution of increasingly complex projects in a situation where the race for talent is getting fiercer almost by the day.
As we attack ever bigger challenges, sufficient supply of competence may emerge as a major bottleneck to the whole industry in the future.
In the years to come, the oil and gas industry must replace a significant part of current global production capacity. However, experience from the past tells me that that the industry will continue to deliver the energy the world needs.
A legendary oilman once said that his formula for success was to «rise early, work hard, strike oil». Today, we have to work harder than ever to turn opportunities into sustainable long term business.