PESA President Leslie Beyer joined James West on Evercore ISI’s “Virtual Leader Energy Series” to discuss PESA’s actions to help members manage the pandemic environment, as well as what the future holds for the oilfield services and equipment sector.
“Our work during the pandemic has been in PESA’s core areas: Train, Elevate, Network,” Beyer said. “We’re collaborating with experts and organizations from inside and outside the OFS sector to share best practices. We’re elevating the industry with our advocacy. And we’re bringing members together through multiple committee and task force collaborations per week.”
While the association’s focus has been on gathering and sharing information to help navigate effects of the pandemic, PESA has not lost sight of long-term projects, Beyer told West. In recent weeks, PESA launched the ESG Center of Excellence, and is continuing work on diversity and inclusion, leadership development, Oil and Gas 101, and training of State Department foreign service officers.
“When we look at the critical issues companies are facing in the COVID-19 environment, they fall within ESG,” Beyer said. “Keeping workers safe and healthy. Serving the communities where we operate. Building resilience to survive a crisis. Developing and implementing technologies to improve environmental performance, even during a catastrophe. These are all ESG issues.”
PESA’s current role is to provide a knowledge-sharing platform, and the association will roll out an ESG certification program in 2021, Beyer said.
Historic demand destruction and the heightened need to increase the efficiency of energy production underscores the importance of the OFS sector, and leads naturally into energy transition, Beyer said.
“OFS companies will drive the technology and innovation that will lead to a lower-carbon energy future,” Beyer said. “Our companies need to be healthy enough to be the technological driving force — just as they’ve been with the shale revolution.”
PESA has established an Energy Transition Committee with a mission to provide education around the benefits of natural gas and share and promote innovations and new technology.
“Our members are investing in research and development, even during the downturn,” Beyer said. “As we accelerate into digitalization, artificial intelligence and automation, collaboration between OFS companies and producers must also increase.”
As effects of the pandemic have mounted, PESA’s advocacy work has amplified. PESA’s government affairs team is active in educating policymakers on what the OFS sector does, why it’s important, and has emphasized that hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake.
When asked about the Washington view of the pandemic, Beyer replied, “this downturn is not because of the natural ebb and flow of the economy,” Beyer said. “The necessary stay-at-home requirements enacted by the Government have resulted in demand destruction, and therefore government should be part of the solution. Stimulus packages have been broadly beneficial, and moving forward it is critical that the oil and gas industry has the same access to government stimulus programs as any other business.”
While the OFS sector is managing day-to-day aspects of responding to the pandemic, the current crisis will likely result in a leaner, more diverse workforce, and increase the pace of OFS sector investment in emerging technologies, Beyer said.
“We’re going to see digitalization, automation and tech innovation sooner, not later. Companies focused on managing enterprise risk through the lens of ESG and investing in emerging technologies will fare best after the pandemic,” Beyer said.