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The effects of the worldwide shutdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed the business of the oil and gas industry into a state of a major crisis. The huge fall in petroleum costs, because of lower demands from end-user markets, severely dented the economy, experiencing its third-worst collapse in twelve years. The progressive weakening of worldwide oil demand was exacerbated by growing structural oversupply caused by a struggle for market share between Russia and the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries. These factors brought oil costs to a 20-year low.

Since oil demand was already subdued pre-COVID, the pandemic has aggravated the oil crisis. Thus, the world is anticipated to witness lower oil demand and slower growth in the post-pandemic era. The recovery of lowered oil prices would require a substantial amount of your time. With the oil & gas trade trapped into a cycle of oversupply, low costs, and volatility, the economic downfall created by the COVID-19 crisis is probably going to deal a serious blow to several companies. Investors have found the industry more and more unattractive over the past ten years. The prolonged downfall of oil prices will force them to divert their capital elsewhere as the traditional oil and gas business model become less commercially enticing.

Though the worldwide economy can eventually recover, it's unlikely that it'll change back to its original state soon. Instead, the oil & gas trade is likely to face prolonged reduced demands because of lower economic activity and hype around the use of cleaner and environment-friendly energy sources. Similarly, the industry also suffers from oversupply issues with burgeoning oil volumes from U.S Shale and the struggle for market share between Russia Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries.


After the restructurings in the early eighties, the trade created exceptional stockholder value. From 1990 to 2005, total returns to shareholders (TRS) all told segments of the trade, except purification and selling firms, exceeded the TRS of the S&P five hundred index. Oil and gas demand grew, and the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries helped to take care of stable costs. Firms unbroken prices low, as recollections from the Eighties of oil at $10 per barrel (bbl) were still acute. A brand new category of super major emerged from megamergers; these firms created worth for many years. Similarly, the “big three” oil-field service instrumentality (OFSE) firms emerged. Political openings and new technologies created chances for all.

From 2005 to 2020, when macro tailwinds like sturdy demand growth and effective offer access continued, the worldwide trade didn't keep step with the broader market. During this time, the typical oil and gas trade generated annual TRS growth concerning seven share points under the S&P five hundred. Each sub-segment equally underperformed in the market, and freelance upstream and OFSE firms delivered zero or negative TRS. The analysis excludes firms that weren't listed through this era (including some structurally favored national oil firms, and personal companies).


The pandemic has forced oil companies to rethink their methods. According to the International Energy Agency, the worldwide production of oil, gas, and refined product fell 3.4% in 2020 compared to the pre-pandemic world.

“The Covid-19 crisis caused a historic decline in global oil demand – but not necessarily a lasting one. Achieving an orderly transition away from oil is essential to meet climate goals, but it will require major policy changes from governments as well as accelerated behavioral changes. Without that, global oil demand is set to increase every year between now and 2026. For the world’s oil demand to peak anytime soon, significant action is needed immediately to improve fuel efficiency standards, boost electric vehicle sales and curb oil use in the power sector.” said Dr. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director.

With the severe injury to the whole oil and gas economic chain, evident in recent production declines, massive cost declines, the petrochemical industry is anticipated to flourish faster than the other oil and gas sectors after the pandemic. The petrochemical sector is expected to have major growth with its wide application in packaging, automotive, fertilizers, medical instrumentality, and physics industries, among others. The petrochemical sector will likely be a bright spot within the leading energy firms. Thus, the petrochemical industry is expected to emerge more resilient, followed by the upstream and other segments, post-pandemic.

The post-COVID-19 world accelerated the oil and gas industry’s transition towards cleaner energy sources, different from its past business models. The pandemic has a perfect agenda, along with the ongoing need for CO2 emission reduction to change and remodel the industry. The survival and success of the industry depend upon cost-effective solutions as well as a greater focus on renewable energy. Such changes and transformations are the only way for the oil and gas sector to thrive longer.

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