Oil and Gas Survey : 31st Survey : November 2019

Fraser of Allander Institute, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce; (2019) Oil and Gas Survey : 31st Survey : November 2019. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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The global economic outlook has weakened over the last year, with a slowdown in most key markets. Some of this reflects a general easing in the growth cycle following a relatively strong couple of years, particularly in the US and emerging markets. But it is also – in part – a consequence of rising trade and geopolitical tensions. It is no surprise that international trade, investment and overall business confidence have all been impacted. That being said, global growth is expected to remain positive this year and next although there will be significant variation across regions. Advanced economies, and in particular Europe, are on track to record relatively weaker levels of activity this year and next. With such an outlook, it is no surprise that oil prices have remained around the $60 level. Of course, here in the UK we have additional levels of uncertainty with the third general election in just over four years, whilst the UK’s departure from the EU has been shifted back once again, this time to January 31. The policy context in which the industry will find itself in could vary significantly depending upon the outcome of political events over the next six to eight weeks. The summer saw a significant increase in public and political interest around climate change. In June, the UK Government committed to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. In September, Holyrood passed legislation that would see Scotland reach this target by 2045, with a supplementary target to achieve a 75% reduction in emissions by 2030. The energy transition provides significant challenges for the oil and gas sector, but also tremendous opportunities. On any deliverable transition plan, the North Sea will continue to play a key role in providing UK energy needs for decades to come. But the demands on industry to shift into new sources of energy will only increase.