Managing Director for GaffneyCline, a consulting firm with offices in Houston, Buenos Aires, London, Moscow, Singapore and Sydney, Florent Rousset specializes in advising oil and gas companies and government entities on commercial and fiscal matters.
Leaders League. Walk us through your organization’s approach to oil & gas vis-à-vis renewables
Florent Rousset. GaffneyCline is a global energy consultancy offering technical, commercial, and strategic advice to the oil and gas industry. We help energy companies and governments navigate complex scenarios. The energy transition, in which the world demands both more energy and cleaner energy, is one of the most complex scenarios that our industry faces.
In order to best serve our clients, we have developed expertise in the economically attractive technologies and the practical sets of policies that can be implemented to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). Many of the oil & gas operators and hydrocarbon-producing countries that GaffneyCline works with are committed to adapt to an increasingly carbon-constrained world.
How has the Covid-19 crisis affected GaffneyCline?
The Covid-19 crisis may have long-term impacts on the energy industry. Our clients are focused today on two very real demands: improving existing operations and accelerating the energy transition and carbon reduction progress. We are adjusting the way we work with clients to meet these new, pressing demands.
How can having experience in oil and gas specifically benefit the renewables sector?
Renewables are one area of a larger category that I would call alternative energy. Investments in renewable energy must be augmented by other clean energy sources and vectors – for instance hydrogen - in order to meet the anticipate increases in demand. We have found that many of the skills our teams have honed over decades working in the oil and gas industry are very relevant when it comes to advising on reducing GHG emissions.
"Oil and gas professionals specializing in facilities and operations are ideally placed to advise on opportunities to replace diesel power generation on onshore and offshore fields with renewables"
For instance, oil and gas professionals specializing in facilities and operations are ideally placed to advise on opportunities to replace diesel power generation on onshore and offshore fields with renewables (typically wind and solar) coupled with adequate battery storage. They understand what it takes to make this deployment of renewable energy safe and reliable.
Likewise, upstream experts in geoscience, reservoir engineering and petrophysics possess skills that are essential to the deployment at scale of carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS), which is identified as one of the key technologies to meeting our climate targets. They have a unique understanding of the earth’s subsurface allowing them to design ways to inject and safely sequester CO2 in underground formations to reduce emissions and meet carbon reduction goals. There are many other similar examples, including evaluating underground energy storage, hydrogen production and geothermal applications.
Do you believe the current crisis is compelling people in the O&G sector to consider the environmental transition and working in the renewables sector?
The growth in the renewables sector, at a time of contraction in the oil and sector, has indeed created new employment opportunities for which upstream professionals are highly qualified. In some cases, upskilling and reskilling in core oil and gas talent will make sense. However, alternative energy goes beyond renewables and leverages existing skills that many within the oil and gas sector hold.
GaffneyCline holds expertise in a CCUS, this technology that captures and either uses or stores CO2 to remove these emissions from the atmosphere. CCUS requires an understanding of the subsurface, and understanding of upstream oil and gas operations and power generation, and an understanding of the complex processes required to capture, store and use the resulting CO2. Enabling large-scale CCUS projects and lowering the price of CCUS at-scale are critical to reducing carbon emissions across the energy industry. I’d argue that talent should think about their role in fulfilling these needs.
There is also widespread consensus that significant upstream investments will continue to be required to meet the world’s growing energy demand. This is especially true for natural gas, which can offer a lower carbon footprint than oil. Access to affordable energy is fundamental to achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. While the current industry dynamics are complex and some companies will scale down their upstream portfolio, there will be others who will take this opportunity to expand.
Looking ahead, the active engagement of the O&G industry is critical for the transformation of the energy sector to take place with minimal disruption and at the lowest cost.