The energy transition has made for plenty of conversation over the past several years, but a new report from Deloitte indicates a majority of oil and gas producers intend to keep hydrocarbons at the center of their business model for the next decade or more.
For its report, Deloitte interviewed 100 “C-suite level” executives whose companies have annual revenues of more than $100 million. Of those respondents, only 23% said their companies were planning to “go green” and devote their entire focus to renewable energy, with only 5% saying that change would occur in the near term.
On the other hand, 77% of respondents said their companies would retain a focus on oil and gas production. Deloitte noted that 47% of that total are mapping out strategies for low-carbon operations by the 2030s, while 30% are intent on keeping oil and gas as a core business through at least 2040. Those keeping oil and gas as the core of the business frequently cited the lack of profitability shown by renewable energy sources as one major reason for their approach.
“While the argument of those planning for a business-as-usual scenario that green energy isn’t always profitable in the near term holds ground, there is no doubt that the energy transition is underway,” Deloitte said. “However, the energy transition will take a long time to complete. Even by 2050, the most aggressive net-zero scenarios project oil demand to remain between 25 million barrels per day and 50 million bpd.”
The “hydrocarbon stalwarts” – which Deloitte indicated could include a number of national oil companies – could grab additional market share as other companies shift their operations elsewhere.
“It seems that many O&G companies still see value in a smaller hydrocarbon market. Stalwarts with less than 16% of their hydrocarbon portfolio at risk, in fact, may reap $1.3 trillion of value by 2050, if overall oil demand lands halfway between 25 million bpd and 50 million bpd,” Deloitte said.
Opec could be a significant beneficiary if the members of the cartel remain consistent oil and gas producers. Deloitte said their oil market share could increase from 37% currently to more than 50% by 2050.
Companies that fall into the category of “low-carbon producers” may still find opportunities if they can use best practices and advanced technologies to increase efficiency while reducing emissions.
“The low-carbon producers would likely try to offset their hydrocarbon emissions by improving their operational efficiency and focusing on using their existing assets for carbon storage as well as enhanced oil recovery projects,” Deloitte said.
“For instance, US independents could possibly gain value in this space as it will help them not only offset their emissions from their onshore shale assets but also drive increased revenue.”