The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

2010 Energy Outlook Survey

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted December 21, 2009

Wondering when the recession will end? A survey of 100 chief financial officers (CFOs) at U.S. oil and natural gas exploration and production companies shows that 31 percent believe the business climate will improve in the second half of 2010, and 33 percent say the climate will be better between 2011 and 2012.

The 2010 Energy Outlook Survey conducted by BDO Seidman LLP, an accounting and consulting firm, also found that legislative changes were among the CFOs' top financial concerns. More than three-quarters (76 percent) felt the federal economic stimulus was not helpful to the energy industry, and only about 20 percent said the stimulus was "only slightly" or "somewhat" beneficial.

On the topic of energy demand, more than one-third (34 percent) of oil executives said they expect world demand for liquid hydrocarbons to peak in 5-10 years, according to one report. And about 41 percent expect renewable energy to comprise less than 5 percent of the U.S. energy sector in five years. This finding is consistent with the federal government's projection that renewable energy will contribute about 10.7 percent of America's energy supplies by the year 2030.

The report from the Environmental Leader also noted that the CFOs believe wind power is likely to progress faster than other renewables. About 48 percent of the respondents said wind energy will best contribute to the world's future energy needs. Twenty-three percent thought biofuels would contribute the most to world energy supplies, 16 percent favored solar power, and 10 percent chose hydroelectric power.

The oil and natural gas industry is making substantial investments in renewables and alternatives as well as technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. In fact, between 2000 and 2008, the industry spent $58.4 billion on greenhouse gas mitigation technologies, which is more than all other industries and the federal government combined.