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Oil and Gas Companies Must Adapt Their Messaging for COVID and Climate Change

In BRINK, Richard Levick discusses how oil and gas companies can assuage the fears of consumers, business partners, shareholders and those along the supply chain.

The COVID-19 pandemic has walloped almost every industry across the globe, irrespective of size, product, service, social conscience or country of origin.

That’s especially true of oil and gas, whose companies have seen sales plummet and revenue drop since the virus hit. Many have been forced to lay off or furlough big chunks of their workforce. Nearly all have slashed capital spending.

All of this has transpired against the backdrop of an industry already under siege for its uneven response to the existential threat that climate change poses to the global environment — and to the industry’s future.

“When countries went into lockdown to try to stem the pandemic,” Renee Cho of Columbia University’s Earth Institute wrote this fall, “air travel was halted, stores and restaurants shut down and people stopped driving to work and stayed home. Global electricity demand fell by 20%.”

Even before COVID-19 paralyzed the world, demand for oil and gas had begun to wane, essentially at the same time criticism intensified of the industry’s role in climate change. If Cho and other analysts are correct, it will be close to a year — perhaps longer — before oil and gas sales return to anything approaching pre-pandemic numbers.

Honest Reckoning

Then, once COVID-19 ebbs, the industry must engage in an honest reckoning with the impact of climate change. It’s a tall task…Read more

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