Angus Foggie

Angus Foggie

Digital Products Manager

The Oil & Gas Year

Angus Foggie is the Director of Digital Products for the business intelligence specialist which covers 30+ oil and gas markets across the world. Its VIP-interviews, analysis and maps are available in books and online at www.theoilandgasyear.com.

Angus handles the global social media presence and the development of online products.

We spoke to Angus to find out what he will be talking about at Social Media in Oil and Energy 2020 in March, and his message is one of realism and honesty.

Interview With

Angus Foggie

What will you speaking about at SMOE20?

I’m planning to talk about how the oil and gas industry can use social media to influence the way people see it, predominantly on a local level.On a global scale there is massive pressure now on the oil and gas industry to change its ways. The oil and gas industry has to accept this is a transitional period — things are going to change and then they’ve got to see how their role in that change can play out.

What do you think the biggest challenge currently is to the oil and gas industries?

There’s a lot of pressure on oil and gas developers to just stop developing right now. The European Investment Bank has just dropped funding for fossil fuelsand invested two billion euros year in fossil fuel development, and €13.4 billion since 2013. Now changed its minds, lots of other people are going to change their minds too and that means less investment and less development.

Why is that so problematic? Can’t the companies just put all their efforts into renewables.

If we stop investing in new wells they dry out fast. If you find a three hundred million barrels field somewhere in Africa, that’s only enough for the world consumption for three days. If we stop investing in oil and gas now it could precipitate a crisis where the oil price is going to go through the roof. Of course, then you’re into the very complicated world of the interplay between the oil price and the value of renewables, but very high oil prices could seriously damage the world economy which doesn’t help the environment.

What can the oil and gas industries do then to meet the challenge of climate activists that would just like them to stop in order to address climate change?

I think the first thing is to stop denying it — that strategy was a bad one. They need to accept that it’s going to happen, so they can start having the conversation about which energy sources we are going to need, which energy sources we are going to use and over what time scale.

In your judgement, what should the oil and gas companies be saying?

Again it’s a matter of honesty. We’ll still be using oil and gas a hundred years from now, just not on the same scale. I think where they might have something to really say is by putting some thought into where are we going — What’s the future going to look like? What’s the low carbon world of the next 10 years, 20 years going to look like? What’s the zero carbon world of 50 years from now going to look like?

Which companies are making the most of social media?

They could all be doing more, but I think the team at Shell are a good example of using social media pretty effectively. They got 5 million likes on Facebook and have a really global presencelargely built on two themes: motorsport and energy efficiency, and they put those two together. It’s environmental because of the fuel efficiency and it’s also appealing to what people actually like about petrol, which is cars.They were able to do an excellent job of building up this influence. I think had BP done the same with an experienced social media team perhaps they could have handled the Macondo disaster better and not let their CEO say foolish things on Twitter, which probably cost the company a few more billions.

Are there limits on how useful social media is to the oil and gas industries?

I’have done an analysis of the share prices of oil companies that have strong social media presence and those that don’t, and to be honest I couldn’t see much difference. I’m not sure that it really changes the mind of a hard-nosed investor. They are not going to invest just because the company’s on Twitter. I think social media is more of an asset in influencing and engaging with the public debate and certainly for attracting and recruitingyounger people into the industry.

Going forward, how should the industry maximise its use of social media?

I think oil industry players should be realistic from the start. They should try and makecredible predictions about where we’re going with energy demand and drawing up carbon emissions profiles for what that’s going to mean. Then they’ve got a point to negotiate from that’s honest and realistic. They’re not going to fool anybody anymore with evasion and platitudes becauseeveryone can go on the internet and have a look for themselves.

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