Times are tough. We are now more than 8 months into the COVID-19 pandemic and most people I speak to have had enough. It is hugely sad that people have lost their lives and it’s terrible on a personal level that birthdays, weddings, deaths and funerals have been missed and lost forever.
The impact on society whether it is physical, mental or economic has been incredible and it doesn’t look like it’s going to ease any time soon.
Pressures on governments and business leaders to make good decisions based on health, finance, fear and emotions are huge, and the uncertainties associated with the complex interplay of all these factors mean that there really are no obvious rights or wrongs.
So, what can we do, as an industry?
We are very fortunate to be in one of the sectors which is relatively less affected by the pandemic. Ultimately the oil and gas industry is going to be one of those areas that “keeps the taps on” throughout the challenging times ahead, and ensures that our country, and indeed the world is still financially viable when we eventually come out of this.
There are myriad quotes out there, that play on the positives and opportunities associated with crises; and there will be positives that come from this. But this is not the time to take undue advantage of the situation at the expense of other stakeholders in our industry’s supply chain.
We need to play the long game. It is incumbent on all of us to ensure that our industry comes out of this crisis intact and healthy. Some companies will use the opportunity to lay off staff; a minority will abuse the various furlough schemes, but we must rise above such short term self-interest and all try to support each other to ensure that as a whole, our industry emerges from this period in a strong position to support the recovery of our economy.
The most insidious effects of the pandemic may ultimately turn out to have been its damage to some of our most important intangible assets; our people and our culture.
With winter and the long dark nights approaching, we need to ask ourselves how we can maintain the integrity of these assets when water cooler chat is reduced to a quick, "how are you doing?", in the first few seconds of a sterile Teams video conference call.
It’s not simple … but we need to consciously remind ourselves of the risks, acknowledge the challenges and stay focussed, stay sane and stay positive; work together and support our industry’s ecosystem.
This is not the time to lose our integrity.