For decades, US oil and gas executives have lamented the industry’s public perception and the lingering lack of trust between consumers and energy companies.
Despite periodic calls for more industry openness – as well as a number of high-profile campaigns to inform the public – many oil and gas executives believe Americans have never been less mindful of the importance of energy in their day-to-day lives, nor more skeptical toward the companies that find, produce and deliver the oil and gas that make modern living possible.
But is that really the case? Is there a chasm that can’t be mended between the public and the industry? Or is there common ground oil and gas companies could build upon to increase consumer acceptance and appreciation for the value they provide?
These are important questions because in this era of technological disruption, when many industries are fighting to stay relevant, oil and gas may be facing its “last cycle” – a time when energy abundance, driven by technology, creates a permanent oversupply that not only keeps prices low, but allows consumers to make new choices about their energy usage. In this environment, public perception of the industry will become ever more critical. And as younger consumers grow in both number and political influence, their viewpoints will become especially vital to the continued relevance of the industry.
To help oil and gas companies better prepare for this “last cycle” challenge, EY began a comprehensive effort in early 2017 to gain an in-depth understanding of how the US public views the energy industry. EY polled consumers of all ages as well as oil and gas executives to gauge how each group feels about a number of key issues and identify the topics where the industry must work to improve its reputation.
The complete findings will be released over a matter of months in 2017; this first report summarizes the overall perceptions by both audiences.