Oxford Business Group: How do you assess the impact of the Covid-19-induced crisis on the natural gas industry?
Mark Loquan: The Covid-19 pandemic erupted during a challenging period for the oil and gas industry. From a business perspective, energy prices were already in a downcycle prior to the pandemic due to a surplus of output worldwide. Prices then fell further as a result of reduced demand during the pandemic.
Covid-19 compelled change. Corporations needed to address the situation and respond to short-term disruptions while continuing to focus on longer-term goals such as transitioning to a green agenda and adopting new technologies.
At NGC our first response was to roll out business continuity plans to guarantee supply and ensure employees were safe. In addition to putting in place the necessary measures for essential employees who had to be present in the workplace, non-essential staff were shifted to a work-from-home programme that resulted in no disruption to the business. As an industry we are now working in a more virtual space with digital tools – a planned shift which we have had to accelerate.
The oil and gas industry had already incorporated forward-looking strategies into its agenda before the pandemic, including digitalisation, green practices and a structural change to address oversupply, and these moves will continue over the long term.