Oil drives the global economic growth quite literally, providing 35% of all energy used. Diesel fuel and petroleum fuels have proven favourable against alternative forms of energy such as wind power. Oil’s robust abundance, ease of transport, flexibility and high energy content are fine examples as to why.
The future of the workforce of the oil and gas industry is often the focal point of discussions. An article on Forbes discusses how heightened concerns are on the basis of the deteriorating public attitude towards the oil and gas industry, and that Millennials are thought to be to blame.
The decline is playing a particular part in a labour force deficiency that will compromise the long-term capability of the industry. A philosophical fondness for renewable energy and other technologies mean that Millennials would rather be part of an innovative “green” energy industry. And with widespread uncertainty on the lifespan of the oil and gas industry, the younger generations are less likely to be drawn in. But Kenneth B Medlock III disagrees.
Millennials are driving technology
Medlock discusses how Millennials – and even moreso Centennials – have not witnessed the “internet revolution” but instead, have been a big part of it.
Their lives have been occupied with technology from the outset, with iPads, smartphones and laptops second nature. Accessing information streams is instantaneous and is something that was not obtainable for previous generations. Technology has shaped an innovative platform for thinking about the world, with productivity and efficiency improved in ways that “herald an unprecedented chapter in the history of civilisation” (HuffPost, 2015).
Medlock further goes on to explain the shift in parenting. Previous generational punishment involved not being allowed to play out with friends which disconnected them from a very small circle of people. Nowadays, punishment entails being banned from electronics, which disconnects them from the world.
The world has changed
And that means the oil and gas industry too. It has come on a long way over the last century and continues to do so, which is predominantly due to technological innovation. The centre of the conversation needs to be around how the challenges of the industry are technologically robust.
Reports have been generated by Deloitte and McKinsey on various tech trends in the industry, as well as Entrepreneur who has published various articles on how the industry has been applying new technology to crack old problems.
Although the increasing role of technology in the sector has been identified, awareness amid the general public is falling behind. There is still a widespread ignorance on how innovation is renovating the oil and gas sector.
“The industry is intimately intertwined with the application and development of new technology”
More frequent engagement on the importance of artificial intelligence, digitalisation and sustainability on determining the future of the industry is vital, such as robotics, 3D printing, supercomputing and artificial intelligence.
Medlock highlights the importance of acclimatising to a shift in time and emphasising the importance of technology. This needs to be achieved by asking the right questions at educational level to involve younger generations at primary and secondary and through open forums at universities.
ADIPEC, OTC,Rio Oil and Gas, and GasTech also need to get involved, as the “prominent global stature” of these conferences will attract worldwide leadership and encourage the recognition of the significance of technology in the industry.
These discussions need to encompass thinking out of the box – and can be achieved with today’s technology. Social media enables connections with younger generations to be more easily accomplished.
Furthermore, the oil and gas footprint is global. The energy landscape change will be steered by new demands in developing, not developed nations. 85% of the global population is still living in developing countries and their oil journeys have only just begun. Hence the discussion on the significance of energy to improve poverty must be raised so that the problems of energy poverty can be sufficiently dealt with. But to achieve this, “technology and innovation in advancing sustainable approaches across the energy sector must be highlighted to connect with younger generations”.
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To read the full article, visit Forbes.com.