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Petroleum Policies for an Uncertain Future


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Author McGill SR


I know the theme of the Congress is “The 21st Century – Mining for Mankind” but I hope you will understand why my address touches upon some near-term issues as well. With the world oil market the way it is at present, “the long term” seems to be next week and no one is even sure what will happen tomorrow! So I am going to take a little licence with the theme of the Congress and talk about some fundamental issues that have much to do with the current uncertainties. The ways in which these issues are resolved and the role governments elect to play in the next few years will determine both the shape of the petroleum industry in the 1990s and beyond and the success with which we can confront a growing and inevitable future dependence on OPEC oil resources. But just in case you are not familiar with what has been happening in the petroleum industry recently and why the future seems more uncertain than ever, let me show you the gyrations in oil prices over the past 13 years, and remember that it is only another 13 years or so years to the 21st Century.