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Perspectives

2018 oil, gas, and chemicals industry executive survey

A look at the trends shaping the future of the industry

Compared to a more cautious 2017, what do executives in the oil, gas, and chemicals industry anticipate for the year ahead? Explore the results from our 2018 survey to learn more about trends shaping the oil, gas, and chemicals industry and potential challenges across the value chain.

A return to opportunity and confidence?

While last year saw a more cautious industry outlook, our 2018 survey reveals growing confidence in the return to a more favorable business environment. Executives expect higher oil and gas prices in 2020 than last year, and they have higher investment confidence and economic growth expectations. The downstream and chemicals sectors appear to be the most confident.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges across the value chain? Download our full report to learn more.

Upstream

Despite an uptick in optimism, executives are sending mixed messages on the health of the industry. Upstream leaders seem to be split between focusing on growth, maintaining the status quo, and streamlining the business. Most upstream companies are focused on short- to medium-term opportunities that will impact their bottom line today or tomorrow—as opposed to next year.

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Midstream

Among all the oil and gas subsectors, the capex outlook has turned most positive for the midstream sector due to rising growth opportunities and the upturn in upstream. This optimism is also being driven by recovery in prices, projected consolidation, and the rising export profile of the United States.

As executives plan their growth in midstream, controlling costs and enhancing operations remain key challenges.

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Downstream

As the sector looks ahead, regulatory challenges (including environmental and permitting issues) are top of mind, likely reflecting the number of challenges projects have faced. While peak demand is being widely discussed in the industry, downstream companies don’t seem as concerned by biofuels or declining consumer demand.

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Chemicals

Most executives in the chemicals sector are optimistic with respect to growth, consolidation opportunities, and realizing its digital potential.

But some executives have concerns about regulatory changes, geopolitical uncertainty, and changing customer behavior and requirements. These shifts are transforming the way most chemical businesses operate, so traditional approaches that are still at the core of business strategy might not be as effective in the future.

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Digital

The digital maturity of the oil, gas, and chemicals industry is still relatively moderate compared to other industries. But digital seems to play a bigger role in accelerating digital innovation in the chemicals sector.

Executives expect artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics to have the largest impact due to their early return on investment and proven role in achieving business objectives.

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