When analyzing the oil and gas industry, supply and demand of these commodities must be considered. Currently, the United States, Russia, and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are producing oil and gas at record levels. On the demand side of the equation, China is one of the largest consumers of oil and gas. As China’s economy has slowed down, their consumption of oil and gas has followed. The global economy is interconnected with China and the effects of a struggling Chinese economy are felt worldwide. Oil is bought and sold in U.S. dollars, which affects the current price. A stronger U.S. dollar drives the price of oil down. An increase in global supply and decrease in global demand creates uncertainty for the oil and gas industry.
There are countless sources predicting the upturn of oil and gas prices but future prices are unknown. Currently however, there are favorable developments in the industry. Pipelines are being constructed from the northeast (Marcellus and Utica Shale) region and connected to multiple large hubs. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants are being built. And the repeal of a four-decade old U.S. crude export ban may be under review. If you ask an oil and gas professional with 30 years plus experience they will tell you prices will bounce back, the “good times” will emerge once again.
There are limited opportunities right now, but with adversity comes possibility. One lesson I have learned in my short career is that the job duties and responsibilities of a landman are vast. We work with numerous industries including agriculture, environmental, regulatory, construction, and many more. My first land related internship was for a non-profit conservation company. From there, the road to landing a full time opportunity with a publicly traded and diversified oil and gas company has been challenging and rewarding. So remember that it is important to exhaust all avenues for opportunity in this business because the industry will turn around. For all my fellow fishermen out there, when a dry fly is not working do not be afraid to tie on a streamer. This university has equipped you with the right tools for you to achieve success. Do not be afraid to use them. Best of luck on your future endeavors Mountaineers.
Landman, Noble Energy