December 7, 2018

Justine Bornstein, Senior Manager, Insights, Deloitte provides her perspectives on the implications of evolving transportation and mobility on the oil and gas industry.

The way we consume energy is changing. As this transition gathers pace, it will affect more and more industries and aspects of everyday life. One of the sectors likely to undergo a dramatic change in the years ahead is transport.

Electric vehicles are set to displace petrol and diesel vehicles over the next 20 years, driven by policy choices that dissuade people from using petrol or diesel cars, and the need for cleaner technologies that make vehicles less polluting – an imperative as the world’s population increasingly chooses to live in urban areas.

What will this move away from petrol and diesel vehicles mean for the oil and gas industry? One might think that the emergence of electric vehicles could only be bad news for the sector. The obvious answer seems to be to repurpose petrol stations as charging stations for electric vehicles. That’s fine if you have the necessary infrastructure in place. But are there other options for oil and gas companies?

Our relationship with the road is likely to look vastly different in the future thanks to the growth of technology-enabled “smart” mobility, the use of data to analyse traffic flows, and the expected benefits from shared mobility, which includes everything from ride-hailing, car-pooling and higher use of public modes such as trains and buses.

But with this rapid change comes opportunity. There is a clear need for significant additions to the UK’s road infrastructure to make it fit for purpose in the new mobility ecosystem. As well as adding to our public road infrastructure, there is going to be increased demand for power to charge these vehicles. The Grid will need to be reinforced, and this will present a chance for energy providers in oil and gas, and other sectors, to innovate and help to meet this demand.

The new transport ecosystem that emerges will open opportunities across a range of new business areas, and disruptive changes in old ones, meaning many sectors, including oil and gas, have a chance to play a role. A need for lighter weight materials for use in vehicles will drive demand for those producing petrochemicals, for example.

At present no individual sector has the means and capabilities to do it all, but by understanding how mobility is evolving, what capabilities your firm can leverage and where best to deploy them, energy companies can find a niche and plug in—in some cases, quite literally!

Deloitte is proud to sponsor Oil & Gas UK’s Aberdeen Breakfast Briefings.