As part of the Women’s Energy Council Celebrating Equal initiative we asked the members of our Global Female Influencer 275 list to answer the question – 2030: How is the energy industry different from 2020?
Click on the name of our thought leaders to read their responses – María Fernanda Suárez, Fathima Hussain, Samantha Dart , Amy Jadesimi, Doris Capurro, Rolake Akinkugbe-Filani, Gwenaelle Avice-Huet, Maryam Ayati, Kim Jooste , Leslie Shockley Beyer, Emma Wild, Julie Wilson, Emeliana Rice-Oxley, Susan Riddell Rose, Tracy Lothian, Dawn Farrell and Susan Grayson below
Views expressed below are of individuals and do not necessarily represent the views of the companies they represent
In the next decade the energy industry will undergo several technological transformations that will surely reshape today’s business. However, I would like to address this question from a gender equality perspective. In ten years, I expect to witness an energy sector in which at least 50% of high-level and technical positions are held by women, therefore breaking down the paradigm that electricity, mining and oil & gas are male-dominated industries. For this to be achieved by 2030, organizations have to move quickly on identifying their gender payment gaps, sex discrimination practices and other internal structures that can be generating glass ceilings for women. This also includes implementing measures aimed at balancing the workload and the role women have as care-givers in their homes, since this last often refrain them from accepting promotions or taking more responsibilities. Unveiling gender biases within organizations can be a slow process and fully addressing these issues may take several years. That’s why we all must act promptly. Additionally, it will be absolutely necessary for Universities to increase the stimulus to ensure that more women engage in STEM careers. In order to have gender parity in the sector’s workforce, we have to make sure that enough women are academically prepared to assume leadership roles within the private and public sectors.
Furthermore, 2030 should be the year in which we celebrate the achievement of SDG7. Ensuring sustainable, clean and affordable energy for everyone around the globe would benefit millions of women that today have to stand the heaviest burdens of energy poverty and climate change. With the expansion of the off-grid market and the improvement of fuel-based cooking-solutions by 2030, women, particularly the ones located in rural areas, will have better opportunities to study, work and become financially independent. I am convinced that the universalization and democratization of the energy sector will serve as a platform for female empowerment and gender equality, especially and more significantly in emerging economies.
Sustainability will be deeply embedded within the energy industry as decarbonisation takes effect amply aided by advances in technology over the next decade both in battery storage and more efficient renewable energy supply. There will be significant growth in vehicle electrification, overtaking petrol/diesel. Nevertheless, Oil & Gas will continue to be a significant component of the global energy mix in 2030 and will play a critical role in providing widespread & reliable access to electricity in developing markets, but with O&G Companies focused on delivering decarbonisation targets and capital providers being equally focused, there will be increased differentiation in the types of hydrocarbon production that remain both viable and justifiable in the new landscape.
I would focus on a couple of rotations (scope and geography) that still need to happen regarding ESG-type pressures on the energy sector. For context, although the energy sector has indeed started to shift towards cleaner energy, be it because low gas prices have incentivized lower coal usage, or because of investor- and policy-driven initiatives, this processed has been largely focused on very few sectors, namely coal usage and hydrocarbon production. Further, it has been largely contained in the Western Hemisphere. In my view we are going to see a broadening of these trends to (1) reflect an accelerated shift in preferences towards the cleaner consumption of fuels, with growing demand for higher fuel efficiency and EVs and increased financing for new technologies as examples and (2) to include Asia more significantly as a driver of change towards a cleaner and more efficient energy sector.
COVID 19 is a wake up call, particularly since based on climate change predictions, it is a relatively mild one, highlighting the urgent necessity for us all to take steps now to address the underlying issues that lead to it occurring and having such a devastating impact. To that end, by 2030 local and international participants in the petroleum, and other commodity, sectors will have embraced sustainability making it a core part of their business operations and planning. There will be some companies in the industry that moved early on this, they will have both captured the most market share with higher revenues and will be seeing higher the profit margins that come from operating sustainably. Companies that are late movers, driven by changing regulations rather than long-term strategic planning, will struggle. In general, once our sector moves towards sustainability it will do so very successfully – sustainable operations require companies to embrace new technologies, plan over long time horizons and operate with a global world view. Petroleum sector companies, for the most part, tick all these boxes. Corporate sustainability can be achieved by framing policies and procedures inline with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals – then focusing on changing existing businesses and expanding into new ones based on this framing. Not only has this been proven to yield the highest medium and long-term return to shareholders, it will also reverse the resource curse, increase market size and increase returns to all stakeholders in the value chain. Change is hard but the consequences of refusing to change or changing too late are worse – I have confidence that the top players in this industry will focus on the necessity for our industry to make this paradigm shift and plans their futures accordingly.
The world we live in today is already different to the world two months ago. So, it is difficult today, in middle of the Coronavirus crisis, to imagine what changes will the end of this decade bring.
We were already, before the crisis, facing one of the biggest and fastest energy transition of the history. Energy storage, at large scale, is almost there to solve the power market dominated by intermittent solar and wind energy. China is already leading the manufacturing of the lithium batteries and the massive industrilization of the electric vehicles. Smart homes and smart cities, with decentralized generation of energy, will modify the electric consumption giving us a complete control over the energy efficiency. With smart systems conected wireless we will choose when to buy from the grid, sell or store power
But although the change is visible, still fossil fuels and also coal, are the main support to the global economy. They are still the main option in most of the emerging countries. And after the oil price went under Zero, lowering employment, risks and costs with high digitalization and new technologies, will lead the agenda. And, as there is an intesification of the environmental pressures the lenders will also have to lower their return expectations. There will be a concentration of the industry en less players. I imagine that only the big oil and gas companies will survive.
Well, we are now 10 years to the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) vision that includes universal access to energy – SDG7. I believe the oil and gas sector – specifically, gas – will still play a major role in achieving that ambitious vision as it concerns Africa. In 2030, Africa will be far gone into the journey of fully harnessing more than 60% of its known gas reserves to build economies and industries that are growing, thriving, resilient and inclusive.
In 2030 many more professionals and entrepreneurs in the energy sector will look like I do today i.e. female, black and millennial. Leadership in the sector will no longer be static, but adaptive, technology savvy and nimble. In 2030, the hard hats and boots image of the sector is a distant concept, and energy sectors leaders prioritize concepts like emotional intelligence and shareholder value equally. Finally, in 2030, I suspect we will still be having a debate about when ‘peak oil’ will materialize, because as 2020 has taught us, no one can with any degree of certainty predict anything.
10 years from now, we are still reeling from the full effects of COVID-19, and he industry has learnt how to work from home and still keep the taps running.
The energy industry is being disrupted at an increasingly higher speed over the recent years and it will continue to do so over the coming years. Innovation with the high speed development of renewables has been a key success and there will be more to come with new disruptive technologies like storage or green H2. This is the second wave of the energy transition, where local Authorities and Companies are being pushed by their citizens, clients, employees, investors to engage into more sustainable solutions. The energy transition is happening locally and globally, that is an unstoppable movement.
Digitalization of the energy sector makes it much more efficient, sensors, artificial intelligence is progressing and becomes an enabler for new and more efficient technologies deployment. All in all, as the energy sector evolved extremely fast in the past 10 years, the 10 coming years will further accelerate this trend.
Energy companies that will succeed will be the ones providing a meaning for the society, and its employees, and ENGIE made an important transformation to adapt this megatrend. We are a company full of competencies to address societal challenges. Our purpose is to accelerate the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy, through reduced energy consumption and more environmentally-friendly solutions. We want to reconcile economic performance with a positive impact on people and the planet.
The infrastructure of the post energy and data transition economy will have emerged with full visibility on the pioneers and what it took to get it right. To get it right, our industry will have evolved to its more balanced version, with triple bottom line as the standard we all hold ourselves accountable to and a diversity of leadership styles and role models such that gender and race no longer prevail as our metrics for balance.
Not only will the energy industry be different from a portfolio, capacity and technology point of view, as it will also be more diverse from a people point of view and this latter will be key for long term survival.
Over the next decade, we’re going to see significant advancements in transitioning to a lower-carbon future as companies progress with digitalization, artificial intelligence and automation. That transition will be led by innovative technologies created by oilfield equipment and services sector, which drove the shale revolution.
We’re also going to see greater enterprise governance through the lens of ESG. Environmental performance will continue to improve with smaller operational footprints and reduced emissions. Increased diversity will bring new ideas and perspectives that will contribute to future technologies while enhancing the health and safety of our workforce and communities.
On the business side, expect integrated companies that provide energy to customers from a variety of sources — wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, geothermal and oil and gas. Demand, especially from Asia, will continue to increase once we get past the current pandemic environment, and oil and gas will continue to be a significant player in the energy mix. Transition to a lower-carbon future won’t happen overnight, and the world will need to use all of its available resources to turn ideas and theory into practical reality.
Technology and purpose define the energy industry of 2030. And in particular, digital technology, has enabled industry CEO’s to improve operations and align business decisions with their purpose. Artificial Intelligence has increased energy efficiency dramatically, by more effectively linking consumer markets and opportunities with supply options, as well as improving every component of the supply and value chains in between. Oil and gas still plays a significant role in the overall energy mix due to continued growth in energy demand from less developed countries such as China and India. But there is a now a business/society need and new industry culture, ensuring the development and production of these assets is carried out in significantly more sustainable ways than a decade ago. Digital technology and the move towards a digital strategy with a focus on ‘doing the right things’ has driven this change. We now see laser-focus on emissions and overall carbon impact, operations are safer due to remote working and robotics, and we see large incremental value through advanced analytics applied to the reservoir and far beyond.
Oil and gas will continue to be important contributors to the energy landscape in 2030. Even with a rapid energy transition, we will not be able to replace fossil fuels with carbon-zero fuels. But the need and desire to reduce carbon footprints will mean that carbon metrics will play a greater role in oil and gas portfolio decisions, alongside cost and risk. The role of exploration will be to displace current supply with lower-cost, lower-carbon sources. Together with profound changes in the supply mix, innovations in carbon capture, use and sequestration will mean that oil and gas production will be ‘greener’ than ever before, while still meeting the world’s energy needs.
We are currently not out of the woods yet with regards to the pandemic and current levels of oil demand to start imagining how the energy industry will be different, only 10 years from now. It will be awhile before the global economy recovers and the energy industry, which is strongly inter-linked to it, is faced with too many moving parts right now. It seems premature to draw any conclusion in 2020 – maybe next year we can ask this same question again.
Ten years can feel like a lifetime while looking forward when it comes to how innovation and human ingenuity can be transformative.
As the world’s whole population begins to meaningfully move out of poverty to possibility, in developing nations and developed nations alike, our societal and human successes will be driven by the availability of convenient, affordable, reliable and cleaner energy for ALL. As a society, and individually, we’ll become more conscious of how we get our energy, our energy use, and our energy footprint, personally and collectively. Efficiency in all aspects will certainly continue to improve as well. But our demand for energy as a global population will continue to rise as we surge forth into a world driven by big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics. We will need all forms of energy acting in symbiotic relationships to drive our progress, as we begin to know that it is indeed truly possible to have all of humanity rise up peacefully and in greater prosperity together – with better health and higher standards of living across all nations.
We have already become increasingly more conscious of our impact on the planet, but this desire for true, full cycle understanding will deepen. Ever-cleaner energy will certainly be a positive trend and I predict society’s trust and understanding in innovation will grow as the key component to drive an ever-cleaner world. The public around the world has been deceived over the past 10 years when looking at the impact of all forms of energy on the planet – both sources and uses. We will learn to look at the full cycle impact, from extraction of raw materials to land use, water use and emissions and find a better way to balance and begin to minimize and optimize all of these impacts. I have faith that the widespread public will no longer tolerate half-truths and misrepresentations but instead begin to genuinely invest the critical thinking required to understand energy and its foundational but complex connection to society.
As the energy system evolves, oil and natural gas will continue to play a vital role. Canada is blessed with abundant natural resources and has talented and educated people and a strong regulatory framework to be the leading producer of oil and gas based energy in the world. We should become the oil and gas supply nation of choice. Canada is at a crossroads politically – My hope is that leadership aligns around this potential we reach our potential as a nation to be the key supplier to the world of safe, clean, affordable and reliable energy.
Natural gas in particular will rise up over the next 10 years, acting as a critical building block in a sustainable energy future. Canada again should emerge as a global LNG provider with its vast resource potential and proximity to growing Asian and other developing markets. Technology over the past 15 years have unlocked vast reserves with an ever-smaller environmental footprint on land, air and water use and Canada’s industry will continue to produce and deliver an ever-cleaner molecule.
A huge collective and cooperative effort will be required to achieve this vision – I look forward to being part of this exciting energy future.
The current events demonstrate that it is hard to predict the future! In my view the energy industry will evolve to be more efficient, sustainable and diverse in both products and leadership!
Energy will be a necessity in 2030 and beyond. Low cost, sustainable energy is essential to economic well being and physical security worldwide. Those economies that can invest in energy infrastructure that is reliable, low cost and sustainable will always win. That is a fact! Reducing the cost of delivering electricity to homes and businesses through technologies such as wind, solar, batteries, hydro, natural gas for peaking, distributed generation and demand side response will overtake expensive centralize systems. Connecting sources of electricity with distributed demand through information technology is key to inexpensive and abundant energy. Access to low cost, sustainable and competitive energy is a human right! Remember that!
During 2020 our industry is facing challenges on many fronts – from the environment, the volatility of the energy markets, along with the additional challenge of a global pandemic. My hope is that all that we are experiencing now will help us build a very different and more diverse industry by 2030: Diversity of energy sources, diversity of our workforce and diversity of the types of roles, and therefore, the talent that we will engage in 2030. We will see much more flexibility in our working arrangements with many roles being done remotely, or even done using robotics and new technologies with less human interaction? The workforce of 2020 will be more diverse and many new types of roles will exist with technology developments which our industry will embrace. Cost will be key to ensuring our industry can adapt and thrive in an uncertain economic future, so new initiatives and technology will be developed to minimise cost, maximise value whilst maintaining safety at the forefront of everything we do.