The oilfield services sector is radically restructuring to survive in a world moving towards net-zero carbon emissions, according to a new industry report.
(73% of UK respondents to ‘Decision Time’ – a Protolabs report that explores the challenges and opportunities for Europe’s oilfield services sector – are already redefining what their core business should be due to energy transition.
The majority of business leaders in the sector who took part in the research see sustainability as an opportunity, with 77% saying sustainability is a way to differentiate and grow their business, and with 80% saying that experience in sustainability gives European businesses an edge in global markets.
The research saw more than 180 senior leaders from oilfield services companies across Europe, including Welltec and Swire Energy Services, interviewed by digital manufacturer Protolabs which delivers a range of services to the sector.
The research found that most highlighted the need to innovate in order to survive. Within the next 12 months, 87% of UK respondents plan to implement robotics and automation and 83% plan to engage in Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS) – 3D printing and on-demand manufacturing to streamline component production.
“Innovation and technology are hallmarks of oilfield services, which is encouraging given the extraordinary pressures on the sector,” explained Bjoern Klaas, vice president and managing director of Protolabs Europe. “The sector’s appetite to secure a long-term future means companies are branching out into other industries and extending their capabilities. With energy transition revolutionising the sector, combined with a much lower profit environment, it is imperative that companies continue to innovate and embrace renewable markets.”
Protolabs, the world-leading digital manufacturer of custom prototypes and low-volume production parts, completed the ‘Decision Time’ survey in summer 2021.
The results from the survey also indicate a clear departure from fossil fuels, with respondents expecting the majority of their portfolio to be non-oil and gas business. Klaas added: “The ‘Decision Time’ report shows that respondents expect to have shifted 64% of their projects to new energy or non-energy business within the next five years, compared with 56% of projects today. This, too, is testament to the willingness to meet the challenges faced by the sector.”
42% of respondents across Europe see new renewable energy technology as the greatest energy transition opportunity for their business over the next two to three years. And 22% consider CO2 management as the greatest energy transition opportunity over the same timeframe. But also, 31% consider innovation in enhanced oil recovery to be key to growth over the next 12 months.
Klaas concluded: “That the oilfield services sector, and the wider energy sector, will transition to renewable energy is well understood. But this report makes clear the transition already being undertaken along the supply chain.
“Companies in the sector appreciate the value of environmental credibility, not only to secure their own reputation and funding, but also in response to the legislative need to cut down on emissions and the competitive need to be sustainable within the global marketplace.
“And it’s the same for Europe’s battery industry: our ‘In Charge’ report earlier this year showed that 58% of respondents believe sustainability principles will give European battery makers an edge in the international market. Also mirroring our battery industry report, 83% of UK respondents to the ‘Decision Time’ report say they are planning to move their supply chain closer to their manufacturing base within the next 12 months.
“This is an important tactic when considering the need to rely on innovation, create a leaner business and turn to Manufacturing-as-a-Service to deliver an operation that will flourish in the new era.”