The optimism so prevalent then also was evident in our ever-cyclical oil and gas industry. Talking of cyclical, the world of publishing is obviously not so different from that of oil and gas, as here I am again 13 years later writing this column.

When returning somewhere, it’s natural to take a look at what’s happened in those intervening years. I was lucky enough to be editor in chief when we merged our former magazines Petroleum Engineer International, Euroil, and Hart’s Oil and Gas World to produce the launch issue of E&P in October 1999.

What’s happened since then? Well, the magazine and the now much-larger E&P franchise has gone from strength to strength, guided by inspirational leaders and the hard work of a talented team.

But look at what’s occurred within the E&P industry, too. The price of a barrel of Brent crude is now nearly US $108 (as of mid-July). That’s a touch more reassuring than the December 1998 equivalent.

How about oil demand and production? In the year of E&P’s launch, global oil and liquids production was 74.5 MMb/d (rising to 77.9 MMb/d by year-end 2000), while global consumption was at a similar level. OPEC’s production pullback in 1998 and 1999 in the face of the rising demand helped to initially tighten the world petroleum balance and begin to nudge prices toward today’s levels.

That same tight margin remains in place today, with Asian-driven demand increasing and output running just in front, hence the relatively settled – and higher – oil prices today. Global oil and liquids consumption reached 89.65 MMb/d in 2Q 2013, while the figure for global oil and liquids production – thanks to this amazingly resourceful industry of ours – sits at 89.95 MMb/d.

If I’d written in my last column at the end of 2000 that a shale oil and gas boom in the onshore US would rip up the global energy picture by 2013 and set the US on the path toward energy independence, that ultra-deepwater E&P would be an everyday occurrence in water depths of close to (and soon to surpass) the 3,000-m (9,843-ft) mark, and that the industry would be close to achieving “subsea factories” on the seabed, I’d have been quickly helped out of town.

Political events also have had their direct effect on this industry, as well as their terrible human cost. The ramifications of 9/11 in 2001, the global financial crisis of 2008 to 2009, and the Arab Spring of 2010 all have impacted the industry directly and indirectly.

All this and more has happened since my last column – I may have to fish out that crystal ball of mine…

Editor in Chief’s Note: The next As I See It column will be written by E&P Executive Editor Rhonda Duey.