Top 10 oil and gas industry trends, influencers, and organisations 2019

A rundown of who to watch in the New Year

2019: a year of change for oil and gas

According to the latest report by GlobalData, the International Energy Agency is the most influential company working in oil and gas at the start of 2019. For those of you who (somehow) don’t know what the IEA do, 2019’s most powerful group are a team of countries founded in 1974 that collectively work to respond to changes and disruptions in the oil supply worldwide. Headquartered in Paris, the IEA works with 38 countries to ensure oil and gas professionals around the world are trained and updated with regards to the latest developments in oil and gas.

GlobalData’s report also outlined the most influential people in oil and gas, naming Swiss commodities analyst Giovanni Staunovo as the number one influencer in the industry. Former G10 FX strategist, Staunovo is based in Zurich with UBS and is extremely active on Twitter in particular. With over 10,000 followers, and dozens of tweets every hour, his GlobalData influencer score was 100 – the maximum on the metric.

It is also worth discussing the report’s third main angle – that of 2019’s main industry trends. The supply of oil from major exporters has (again) been named the most important changing trend in oil and gas this year, due mainly to 2018’s hefty slew of US sanctions on Iran, amongst others, and waivers granted to China.

You might be interested in our piece on Iran's energy exchange.

We’ll now look at some other key takeaways from the report – focusing on influencers, trends, and organisations set to steer the course of 2019 – highlighting the importance of Twitter followers across all measures.

Top 10 oil and gas influencers

Following on from UBS’s Giovanni Staunovo in the number one spot is Dallas-based economist and consultant Dr Anas Alhajji with a score of 83. Respected across the industry and by his 30,000 Twitter followers, and cited in dozens of books, this former professor has nearly eight years’ of capital management experience and is a leading commentator on oil and natural gas, and a producer of trendsetting energy reports.

With 26,000 followers and a score of 76 on the influencer measure, consultant and entrepreneur Samir Madani founded and currently manages the Organization of Oil-Trading Tweeters. Self-confessed polymath, Madani’s interests are legion and his commentary entertaining and insightful. Watch this space for Madani’s influence to grow yet further in 2019.

Fourth on the list is Ed Crooks of the Financial Times, US industry and energy editor with nearly 20 years’ experience with the FT. With over 36,000 followers on Twitter, he is one of the most popular figures in oil and gas journalism – drawing on his time with the BBC and the UK energy industry. He is based in the US, and was measured at a 70 on GlobalData’s influencer score.

Alongside Samir Madani, Lisa Ward co-founded Tanker Trackers in early 2016. With experience in the armed forces and the financial industry,  Lisa has risen to become GlobalData’s most influential woman in oil and gas commentary with a score of 64. With nearly 11,000 followers, Lisa is also the co-founder of the Organization of Oil-trading Tweeters.

At number six in the rankings is UK-based Herman Wang, senior writer at Platts, specialising the in the OPEC region and commodity markets. With just shy of 10,000 followers and a influencer score of 63 – Wang’s visibility in the coming year could be further boosted by recent developments with OPEC’s members.

Jennifer Dlouhy has been with Bloomberg for the past three years, reporting on policy surrounding energy and environment. With over a decade’s experience in numerous publications focusing on regional and oil and gas issues, Dlouhy has nearly 25,000 followers and a score of 63 according to GlobalData.

Somewhat surprisingly, Reuters appear relatively far down this list – here represented by Ernest Scheyder, National Energy Correspondent. Scheyder has a decade’s experience with Reuters and takes a more technological angle on the issues surrounding oil and gas. With a score of 63, his influence will no doubt expand as his follower numbers – currently under 8,000 – continue to grow.

The ninth most influential oil and gas commentator at the top of the year is FX futures trader Lee Saks. Frequent tweeter and famously identifiable by his ALL CAPS stylisation, Saks is an informed and politically-invested influencer. He has over 21,000 followers at present, and is the fourth member of the list with a score of 63.

Rounding off GlobalData’s analysis of oil and gas influencers is Jesse Jenkins, an independent energy consultant and researcher, and postdoctoral environmental fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. Despite a score of 61, Jenkins is thought by many to be a major force for future change in oil and gas commentary.

Top 10 oil and gas industry organisations

With 150,000 followers, the IEA are the most influential organisation at present. Their presence in many of the world’s most important oil and gas importing and exporting nations has solidified their role in the modern energy industry, but they are but one of many burgeoning groups jostling for influence in the current turbulent climate.

The US Energy Information Administration or EIA may not be very active online, but their affiliation with the US government places them at the height of policymaking and market efficiency. They are responsible for the dissemination of energy and economic information relating to oil and gas in the most powerful nation on earth, and directly influence the lives of tens of millions of oil and gas professionals worldwide.

Rounding out the top three is ExxonMobil – one of the largest companies of any type in the world, and at various points in its history, the largest oil and gas company on the planet. It is still one of the largest, and GlobalData have deemed it to be the most influential multinational oil and gas company in 2019. 

The most powerful state-owned oil and gas company in the world is the China National Petroleum Corporation – also ranked fourth on the 2018 Fortune Global 500. Unsurprisingly, it has a negligible online presence.

The US Department of Energy works with the IEA to make energy policy decisions. Needless to say, they wield huge amounts of power over the direction of the United States’ approach to oil and gas. Over the next few years, particularly as the (first term of) the Trump presidency draws to a close, the DoE may experience some major overhauls.

Since 2015, the UAE has maintained one of the largest oil reserves in the world. The state-owned ADNOC is the second most powerful in the world, after the China National Petroleum Corporation. Producing over three million barrels of oil per day, ADNOC is the largest drilling company in the Middle East and the 12th largest producer in the world.

The second American multinational on the list is ConocoPhillips, the largest exploration and production company when reserves are considered. The firm has and may continue to suffer from share price decreases, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see it either drop off the GlobalData rankings in 2020, or perhaps climb higher. 

State-owned Petrobras is the national oil company of Brazil, operating across all parts of the supply chain, including alternative fuels. Based in one of the largest countries in the world, which also saw a new president recently – Petrobras has experienced a surge in value and could continue to gain power if its outstanding contracts are successfully passed by new right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro – if he doesn’t privatise it, that is

Despite problems between Qatar and the other 14 members, OPEC remains a major global influence. Recent troubles with production in Venezuela, one of the five founding members, hitting a three-decade low may help boost OPEC’s goals to unify petroleum prices – or the rampant corruption in the South American nation could limit OPEC’s power to dictate oil prices by controlling worldwide production. 

The tenth and final entry on GlobalData’s list is Glencore – the only private company on the list that is not headquartered in the US. It sits 14th on the Fortune 500, but is primarily a mining company. With major figures in the company approaching retirement, and issues with corruption in 2018, Glencore is set for major changes to its structure.

Top 10 oil and gas industry trends

Oil and gas supply was named as the main trend to watch as we enter 2019. Problems with Venezuela and Iran, as well as Qatar’s exit from OPEC have ensured that this will remain the case for the next six months at least. Let’s look at the rest of the list according to GlobalData’s 2019 report.


The second entry on the list is energy outlook, which in recent years has come to include the input of gas influencers online, as well as industry whitepapers and journalism. We would of course include the work we do at Oil & Gas IQ in this part of the report, and look forward to the findings from another year of private and national research, conferencing, and tweeting.

Energy policies are the third trend, and includes decisions made by organisations like the US Department of Energy. The rise in federal oversight with regards to methane and wastewater, and the return to more autonomy in oil-producing parts of the US are set to alter oil production in 2019. Changes to the ranks of OPEC may also alter how its 14 nation states manage their energy policies, and, needless to say, the political situation in the UK may affect policies relating to North Sea oil exploration and nuclear energy in Scotland over the next few years. The oft-completely contradictory commentary on Brexit makes this even more unpredictable. 

The rise of LNG and the pressure on governments and state-owned companies, as well as private firms, to strive for environmental sustainability means that many commentators are anticipating that natural gas supply will be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. China, amongst other nations, have been developing their natural gas infrastructure and investing in liquefied natural gas imports – with 2019 being labelled by some as the year in which global LNG supply will outstrip demand, alongside a major backlash against coal – further increasing gas demand.  With the EU bracing itself for a fall in gas prices, the natural gas market could be one of the most exciting areas in the industry in 2019. 

We’ve mentioned the output of OPEC earlier in this article, and it appears on GlobalData’s list of trends, too. OPEC has already committed to pulling more oil from the market than we’ve seen since 2017 (over one million barrels in the next three weeks) and towards the close of 2018, Iranian supply dipped severely whilst Saudi output hit an all-time high. However, it is surprising that OPEC’s output is so high on the list given that OPEC hasn’t functioned as the hive mind it was designed to be in many years, and without Russian intervention, even the current production drop wouldn’t have occurred. However, the reduction in oil production doesn’t appeared to have scared many in the industry

Oil price is of course on the list of trends to watch in 2019, and with the price of Brent crude roughly $30 per barrel less than the value three months ago the market is as unstable as it has ever been, with the slow rise in Q1 and Q2 2018 offset by a disastrous end to the year. The Trump administration’s recent sanctions, and subsequent relaxing of many of them, has added yet another element of volatility. 

Fracking, particularly in the UK, is a loaded term for many – and whilst extremely popular in the US, it has been fraught with problems in Western Europe – with total bans in many countries. Cuadrilla’s problems with seismic activity have been well-publicised, and we’ve yet to see if fracking will ever produce oil on mainland Britain.

You might be interested in the Oil & Gas IQ complete guide to fracking.

Just as important to the fuel market as oil supply is oil demand. As of the end of 2018, the United States was the world’s biggest consumer of crude oil, using just shy of 19,000,000 barrels per day. China, a distant second, used 10,500,000, with Japan using 4,500,00 per day.  Demand has increased every year since records began, and exceeded 100 million barrels worldwide in 2018.

A trend that is far more recent than the others within GlobalData’s report is that of energy transition, or the changing make-up of fuel use within a nation or region – be it the uptake of solar, or the implementation of a nuclear programme. Some areas to watch include the (potential) growth of the electric vehicle market, the effects of certain countries leaving certain international organisations, the decline of coal, and the rise of companies such as Orsted.

Finally, the inventories of oil, and to a lesser extent natural gas and coal, will be worth keeping an eye on as we move through 2019. In the US, 2018 had very little effect on oil inventory, and this was the case across much of the world. Inventories have generally been high, but it is anticipated that they will return to their more usual averages

Got your own views on how 2019 will pan out? Why not let us know, or join us for our next online event to discuss operational excellence in 2019’s market.