Key findings from the global Oil & Gas industry

20th CEO Survey

20 years inside the mind of Oil & Gas CEOs... 

In our 20th CEO Survey, PwC interviewed 83 Oil & Gas executives in 39 countries to get their insights on the economy, the impact of globalisation and technological changes. Some of their views are highly consistent with the overall findings, but Oil & Gas CEOs also differ in their views about threats to the industry, which territories will be most important for growth, and which job skills will be crucial to the future of their organisation. 


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Oil and gas CEOs have a somewhat different view of the world order
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Countries most important for growth

The Oil & Gas industry, like all CEOs surveyed, see the US and China as the most important countries for growth. However, while Germany is important to many sectors (17% ranked it as the third most important), the Oil & Gas industry sees Russia as much more vital to growth (13% versus 4% survey-wide). Mexico and Saudi Arabia are also more important to Oil & Gas than other sectors. And the three most important cities? Oil & Gas CEOs rank London (11%), New York (8%) and Beijing (8%) as the most important. 

How will Oil & Gas CEOs drive growth this year?

Organic growth is the top focus for CEOs across all industries (79%), including the Oil & Gas sector (69%), but cost reduction is just as important for Oil & Gas CEOs (also 69%). More Oil & Gas CEOs will consider new M&A (46% vs. 41% survey-wide) or selling a business or exiting a market (22% vs. 15% survey-wide) than in other sectors. And given the current business environment they’re in, innovation is what CEOs most want to strengthen in order to capitalise on new opportunities (18% for Oil & Gas vs 23% survey-wide). Digital and technological capabilities are also very important. 

Making the most of opportunities to grow
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Managing man and machine
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Managing man and machine

Technology can help drive efficiency, and open up opportunities for companies, but will technological advances also lead to job elimination? We asked CEOs about their plans to increase headcount this year. In the overall survey, 52% of CEOs indicated that they plan to increase headcount. Only 41% of Oil & Gas CEOs plan to do so, however, and 27% plan to actually decrease headcount. The Oil & Gas industry is still recovering from the significant downturn of the last two years, so it may take longer for the sector to get back to fuller employment.

But automation is not the primary cause of headcount reductions. Half of the Oil & Gas CEOs surveyed confirmed that automation and other technologies are not the cause of decreases in headcount. The industry is beginning to use more technology – drones, robots, and artificial intelligence, so the scenario may change in the future. For now, only 5% of the Oil & Gas CEOs we interviewed think technology will cause decreases in headcount to a large extent.

Top threats to stakeholder trust

To what extent do Oil & Gas CEOs think aspects of digital technology will impact negatively on stakeholder trust levels in their industry in the next five years? And are CEOs taking actions to address these threats?

The top threat for the Oil & Gas industry stems from IT outages and disruptions (93%). And CEOs are addressing this issue (93%). In terms of other top threats to stakeholder trust, Oil & Gas CEOs see cyber security (91%), risks from use of social media (82%) and breaches of data privacy (80%) as more threatening.

The dark side of connectivity
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A look back at 20 years of change

Take a look at our interactive timeline of some of the defining moments of the last two decades in the Oil & Gas industry

  • UN extends "Oil-for-food" initiative with Iraq
  • Qatar opens world's largest LNG export facility
  • Kyoto protocol signed
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $1.24/gal.
  • 1st successful shale gas well drilled by Mitchell Energy
  • British Petroleum (BP) merges with Amoco
  • Riyadh Pact - Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Mexico agree to take 2-3% production cut
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $1.07/gal.
  • Exxon Corporation acquires Mobil Corporation
  • Total S.A. acquires Petrofina
  • British North Sea oil production peaked at 4.5 million barrels per day
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $1.18/gal.
  • BP Amoco buys Arco
  • Total Petrofina buys Elf
  • Chevron Corp. merges with Texaco Inc
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $1.52/gal.
  • 9/11 attacks
  • Kashagan field discovery (Kazakhstan) - world's largest oil find in 3 decades
  • Phillips Petroleum and Conoco merger
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $1.46/gal.
  • Prestige oil tanker spill off coast of Spain
  • World oil production reached nearly 67 million barrels per day
  • Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative launched
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $1.39/gal.
  • Khodorkovsky arrested and Yukos Oil dismantled by Russian government
  • BP and Russian investors form TNK-BP
  • Iraq war begins
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $1.60/gal.
  • US gasoline prices top $2/gallon for first time
  • Oil prices for September delivery of light crude hit record high of $44.98 /bbl
  • ConocoPhillips takes 7.6% stake in Russia's Lukoil
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $1.90/gal.
  • Hurricane Katrina hits causing US gasoline prices to soar over $3/gallon
  • International consortium signs deal to build Vietnam's first refinery
  • Chevron Corp. buys Unocal Corp.
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $2.31/gal.
  • Crude oil traded for over $79 per barrel, setting an all-time record high
  • China begins importing LNG for the first time
  • World's 2nd largest gas field discovered - Galkynysh gas field onshore Turkmenistan
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $2.62/gal.
  • Venezuela nationalizes part of oil industry by taking control of oilfields operated by IOCs
  • Brazil's pre-salt discovery by Petrobras - Tupi field - with estimated 8 billion barrels of crude
  • PetroChina becomes world's largest listed company with IPO
  • Statoil and Norsk Hydro merger
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $2.84/gal.
  • Retail divestments: BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil all announce plans to exit direct ownership of their retail gasoline operations
  • Crude oil prices break $100 for first time in history
  • Global financial crisis begins, and oil prices rapidly fall
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $3.30/gal.
  • The Tamar gas field was discovered off the coast of Israel
  • Canada's Suncor buys rival Petro-Canada
  • US and European oil giants sign $50 billion deal to develop one of Iraq's most prized oil fields
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $2.41/gal.
  • First mass produced electric vehicle hits the market
  • Petrobras issues $64B IPO
  • Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and fire
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $2.84/gal.
  • World's longest extended reach well drilled on Russia's Sakhalin Island (40,502 ft)
  • Arab Spring - unrest creates concern over global energy supply
  • Kinder Morgan acquires El Paso Corp
  • Downstream spin-offs: ConocoPhillips and Marathon both spin off downstream business
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $3.58/gal.
  • Rosneft acquires TNK-BP
  • China's CNOOC acquires Nexen in Canada - China's biggest foreign deal ever
  • Argentina takes control of YPF from Repsol
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $3.68/gal.
  • Keystone Pipeline controversy
  • Following nearly 10 years of declining oil production, Mexico votes to allow foreign investment and production-sharing agreements
  • Oil companies begin exploring the Arctic
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $3.58/gal.
  • Oil prices start dramatic decline due in part to excess global supply
  • Year marked strongest growth for renewable energy according to a report by IEA
  • International sanctions imposed upon Russia
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $3.44/gal.
  • US becomes world's largest producer of oil and natural gas
  • Cheniere Energy receives first US LNG export license
  • COP21 - Paris agreement on climate change
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $2.52/gal.
  • Royal Dutch Shell acquires BG Group
  • Schlumberger acquires Cameron
  • US becomes net exporter of natural gas for first time in over 60 years
  • OPEC agrees to cut its overall production by 1.2 million barrels a day
  • Annual average gasoline price (US) $2.25/gal.

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Contact us

Niloufar Molavi
Global Energy (Oil & Gas) Leader
Tel: +1 (713) 356 6002

Reid Morrison
Global Energy (Oil & Gas) Advisory Leader
Tel: +1 713 356 4132

Kenny Hawsey
Global Energy (Oil & Gas) Tax Leader
Tel: +1 713 356 5323

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