This was the brief:

  • Themes: Oil and gas industry uncertainties; we can and we do!
  • Concepts/vision: Looking forward, not backward
  • Message: Challenges are opportunities

In the energy industry, we understand uncertainty and the value of uncertainty. Some might even say that uncertainty is our business. I would say, solving uncertainty is our business – that's the way I like to look at it. 

Some of you may be thinking that we are facing our most difficult times. In a sense, we are. But before we start worrying, we should reflect. Never in the history of our company have we been better situated to deal with uncertainty. Indeed, we've been planning for troubling scenarios for the last three decades, because we have always known that days like these would come. And our planning is paying off today. Those scenarios we imagined have arrived, but we find ourselves prepared, ready, and equipped. We know we can deal with adversity and uncertainty, because we are dealing with adversity and uncertainty. 

We are in a world full of change – and hasn't that always been the case? But is everybody in our business as agile, planned, prepared, and equipped as we are? No, is the answer. We have made systematic, long-term investments in the development of innovative, energy-saving, environment-healing, cost-cutting, price-lowering technologies. Today we are providing energy more quickly, more cheaply, and more responsibly than we ever could before, and our competitors cannot match that. Tomorrow we will do all this, and more. We can win in a business that is facing uncertain times, because solutions are our business. 

The world has an unprecedented energy thirst. Everybody knows that. But there are social and geopolitical conditions that complicate the  satisfying of that thirst. We have researched and we have diversified. Our work on cleaner methods of extraction, distribution, and downstream consumption has yielded world-beating results. Our customers choose us because we are dependable in uncertain times, because we deliver despite the complexities and risks, because we have systems and people in place that give us competences that are industry-leading.

We can and we do deliver quality energy solutions to those who need them, when they need them, in the way they need them, and, ideally, at affordable rates. Politics isn't our business, but of course the environment and social issues around energy are everybody's business. We have not been resistant to political and community pressures for improved energy options, and we have responded with new science and new engineering, while considering the many voices and needs of our stakeholders worldwide. We can and we do listen; we can and we do offer solutions; we can and we do deliver competitively. 

A large share of our capital goes directly into research that benefits not only our company but people all across this precious planet that we share. So we have many reasons to be confident. We have much to be proud of too – the way we embrace innovation, the research that we fund and carry out ourselves, and the way we support the many economies around the world that rely on our products for their maintenance and growth.

So we look forward, never backward, when we see uncertainty around us. We look forward, never backward, when we see difficulty. We look forward, never backward, when unenlightened others claim we are a cause of the world’s problems. Because we know we are part of the solution. When others see crisis, we see calm. When others see shortage, we see plenty. When others see rising prices, we see the economies that our technologies enable. When others see profits, we see opportunities to pass on savings to our customers. These are the reasons why our customers stay with us and why customers we thought we had lost return to us. These are the reasons why the energy continues to flow and why the world continues to turn on that energy.

We all know the challenges our industry faces: pressure for greener energy and greener technologies in general; national and regional conflicts; resource shortages, price fluctuations, tightening licencing and regulatory conditions, and a general movement towards renewables. But we've been here before, several times. And in our past, we coped – and prospered – with far less than we have today, with less science, with less investment, with capabilities not a fraction of those we have now. And while it may be true that never in our history have we faced so many challenges together at once and with such intensity, it is definitely true that never in our history have we been better positioned to respond, renew, and rebound. We are agile in new ways, lean in new ways, collaborative in new ways, and caring in new ways. Detailed, deep, long-range planning for uncertain times such as these has – perhaps not surprisingly – brought us our greatest certainty, which is this: when challenges come, we are strong, we are ready, and we are capable.
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