The oil crash: good idea?

“Not too long ago, there was a diesel leak in a subterranean pipe near Lage Zwaluwe. That’s where I live,” says Marc van Ravenstein, director of InAxtion. “Moments like that make you newly aware of the consequences of the massive impact the oil industry has on our society. When the local farmer’s land suddenly smells like oil, and you have to close your windows and doors to keep out the smell, and contaminated soil is an issue all of a sudden, that hits very close to home. It made me think.”


Due to the current low oil prices, the economic downturn in the oil industry continues; many companies are hugely affected by this crash. Manufacturers of offshore ships and oil platforms or pipes and secondment agencies alike are experiencing difficulties because of the rapidly declined oil prices. “Market sentiment is strongly affected by the declining oil prices. It’s Economics 101; there is less demand for oil, so companies invest less in oil extraction. In turn, fewer machines are produced and less equipment needs to be overhauled, and thus, fewer staff are needed,” Marc explains. “Luckily, it’s not all bad news. At a recent conference in Stavanger, the centre of the Norwegian oil industry, the chairmen of large multinationals such as Shell, Statoil and ConocoPhilips (an American player) displayed careful optimism. The current expectation is for the demand to grow and prices to recover. However, no one is willing to make any concrete predictions as of yet regarding when that will be happening exactly.”


Of course, the low oil prices are wonderful for anyone filling up their car at the gas station, and electricity and gas bills these days are a lot more pleasant to look at. That’s a nice added benefit, for now. But do note; oil prices will be on the mend, and there will be a leak elsewhere eventually. Until that day comes, we would all do well to think more carefully about this vulnerable source of energy, and the alternatives available to us.