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Energy and Natural Resources: Horizons

We are at an inflection point in the energy and natural resources industry. Across the world, we're facing change of every order; the question is - how do you deal with it?

Mapping the horizon

By Scot Anderson

It feels like we are at an inflection point in energy and natural resources industry. There are all sorts of changes underway. Not that long ago, we were wondering whether we had reached the point of peak oil, the tipping point at which we had produced over half of the recoverable oil in the world, and were starting our way down the decline curve. The shale revolution and the use of hydraulic fracturing moved that peak well into the future.

The development of more efficient and economical sources of renewable energy has shifted the inquiry from “peak oil” to “peak demand.” Given the commitment to address climate change, and the use of new technologies to lower the cost of generating and distributing solar and wind power, perhaps the demand for hydrocarbons will peak well before the availability of hydrocarbons peaks.  That said, most projections show that the demand for natural gas as an energy source grows faster than demand for any other source of power.

Regardless of how we manage the sources of our energy, the fundamental demand for energy will be increasing at a dramatic rate. There are going to be a lot more people in the world, and the quality of life for the world’s citizens is also on the rise. It will take a lot of mineral resources, water, and energy to keep the world’s population healthy and happy. Political instability and the rise of nationalism could impair the ability to the energy and natural resources industry to meet those needs.

Finally, the digitization of the energy and natural resources industry creates new opportunities to find and deliver these resources to the world. As our industry embraces new technologies, and integrates them into resource extraction, generation and transmission of energy, and related commercial arrangements, we see a way to meet the demand for energy, power, water, mineral resources, and infrastructure.

In this series our lawyers look at a range of issues, from the evolution of energy storage and the Asian LNG spot market, to modernizing infrastructure and investing in Africa. We hope this work will help you as you navigate your company past the inflection point, and toward the horizon.

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