An organization called the Oil Council put out a press release this week that was titled, “Global Oil & Gas Industry Entering Phase of Darwinian Competition.” I don’t know about you, but that headline got my attention. According to the press release, this announcement was made at a press briefing in London, where the Oil Council is based. Participants of the briefing, which was organized by the Oil Council and Willis Global Energy, have concluded, “The oil and gas industry is in a period of Darwinian competition where survival will be determined by those most able to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape.” So what is the Oil Council, and why should you care about its pronouncements? I asked myself that question, and as a good reporter, I followed up with some investigating. The Oil Council was founded in 2009 at the bequest of the oil and gas industry in Europe. The industry wanted an independent platform at an international level for business development and thought leadership. The idea was for the group to meet regularly, within different formats and across different locations. According to Ross Campbell, Oil Council CEO, the concept is similar to that of an industry association “but with a core focus of investment and finance in the oil and gas sector rather than policy, regulation, or technology.” The remit for the Oil Council is two-fold, Campbell explained. The first objective is to promote thought leadership about the business dynamics of oil and gas (leadership challenges, capital raising, institutional investment flow, M&A and A&D transactions, deal metrics, energy economics, capex plans, and capital deployment) across the wider energy, investment, and finance communities. As if that isn’t challenge enough, the second goal is to provide senior industry executives and leading companies with regular, high-end corporate development opportunities where the focus is on accessing new partners and prospects. “The Oil Council is accomplishing these goals through e-media, customized business development programs, annual assemblies, and networking functions, each allowing us to tackle key business challenges, champion best practices, develop strategic affiliations, and showcase new investment opportunities.” Campbell said. The purpose of the recent briefing in London was to engage leading experts from within the Oil Council network directly with the press. Speaking at the briefing were Oil Council members Dougie Youngson, director, Oil & Gas, Arbuthnot Securities; Gavin Graham, executive vice president, Petrofac Energy Developments; Laurie McFadden, partner and co-head, International Energy and Natural Resources, Freshfields; Mike Karaiskos, director, energy and resources, Deloitte; and Tim Chapman, managing director and head, International Energy, RBC Capital Markets. One of the major points the Oil Council made at the press event is that although technology is critical for oil and gas companies, of even greater significance might be the way companies adapt their strategies to position themselves for more fierce competition. According to Youngson, “IOCs have to figure out what’s in their black box that will reward shareholders.” “That black box isn’t just technology,” Chapman explained, “but also proven management, skilled workforces, and operational expertise that NOCs are keen to secure through partnerships.” Risk assessment is getting more attention today as well. “Whereas companies used to just ask ‘how do we do this transaction?’ increasingly they want to know ‘how do we manage this risk?’” McFadden said. The overriding observation, voiced by Graham, is that “In this Darwinian world, it isn’t survival of the strongest but the survival of the most adaptable that will matter.” Now that’s something to think about. For those interested, these panels are a regular feature on the Oil Council’s activity calendar. There is at least one per year in New York, Houston, and London, and plans are in place to expand into South America and Africa in the coming months. In addition, the Oil Council holds three large forums every year. One is held in London on oilfield services and engineering. And there is a forum annually in New York on energy capital and finance, with a similar event run in London. Click here to visit the Oil Council website and learn more about what it does. (