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IEEFA, EWG make case for financial decline of oil industry

April 07, 2021

Environmental Working Group:

The oil and gas industry, from extraction to transportation to refining, is no longer the profitable and financially stable enterprise it long was. Over the past decade, the industry’s profits have sagged, revenues and cash flows have withered, bankruptcies have abounded, stock prices have fallen, massive capital investments have been written off as worthless and fossil fuel investors have lost hundreds of billions of dollars.

These financial pressures are set to intensify over the coming decade, as the oil and gas sector faces the reality of the world’s transition to clean energy.

  • Renewable power is getting cheaper and more abundant, eating into fossil fuels’ market share.
  • Rising electric vehicle sales, improving energy efficiency and increased plastics recycling will further crimp oil and gas demand.
  • New technologies will make some uses of fossil fuels obsolete.
  • All the while, the world’s governments face a growing imperative to avert the most severe impacts of the climate crisis.

These trends will reinforce one another: For example, as wind and solar costs fall, some governments will set more ambitious goals to reduce emissions. 

[Clark Williams-Derry and Grant Smith]

More: Oil and gas: An industry in decline

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