Editorial: From Doldrums To Golden Age, Novelty Is Necessity

Tim Haïdar

The price of oil fell again at the beginning of this week’s trading on further instability in Asia and negative projections from the analyst community.

Global investment banking firm, Goldman Sachs, last week published a report in which they reforecast their expectations for Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) by $12 per barrel. Chillingly, the multinational investment giant stated that: "The potential for oil prices to fall to such levels, which we estimate near $20/bbl, is becoming greater".

The last time oil touched the $20 mark was 13 years ago, when the world was producing and consuming 14 and 17 per cent less oil respectively.

Whilst the $20 level is a worst case scenario for companies and countries that derive their livelihood from petroleum-related activities, even the silhouette of the possibility is enough to prompt activity in one field: innovation. As organisations are tasked with producing more with less available manpower and materiel, extant projects are being stretched to the limits.

Techniques such as "re-fracking" wells drilled using less advanced methods, and foraying into biotechnology to stimulate the microbes that promote recovery yields, are just two modes of thinking that are becoming increasingly mainstream.

The current oil price is an assault on company and state alike but in times of war the ingenuity of man usually shines through. Everything from the submarine to the sanitary towel to the pilotless drone emerged from major conflicts of the past 150 years. The oil industry’s nadir could still prove to be its finest hour.