The oil industry is a perpetually unstable environment, susceptible as it is to new discoveries, military conflicts and, lately, the COVID-19 crisis. It’s a market that can see its fair share of bankruptcies – new players entering while established players collapse. It takes a great deal of expertise to navigate such an environment successfully, but Ravi Sheth, Managing Director of Greatship India, may just have exactly that expertise.
For the past 14 years, Ravi has been with Greatship India, ever since the subsidiary of the Great Eastern Shipping Group was set up in 2006. In that time, he’s seen the company through other crises, such as a major market disruption in 2014. Up until that point, the market was doing pretty well, having come through a boom period. From mid-2014, however, the price of oil fell rapidly thanks to a fall in demand and a stronger US dollar.
When oil was at US$140/barrel, the proponents of peak oil supply theory forecasted a price of US$200 in no time. Instead, the world (read the US) found a new and vast source of oil in the form of shale oil and the price plummeted to US$30-40/barrel. As the oil price fell, so did the E&P spending budgets of major oil companies. To further accentuate the problems, the cuts in capital allocation were skewed towards offshore. As a result, over the past few years, the offshore oil field services industry witnessed a severe slowdown. Ravi says the market has stabilised now, but it’s not perfect – he notes that the essential thing remains the pursuit of cost efficiency (especially today, thanks to COVID-19).
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