2016 shook up the snow globe and left the world on the edge of its seat as to what will happen next after Brexit passed in the U.K. and Donald Trump was elected in the U.S. But with the New Year comes an air of optimism for what's ahead. A new president has been inaugurated in the United States and plans surrounding Brexit press on. So all eyes shift to how these changes will affect the world market- and opportunities for legal talent.
For the energy and oil and gas industries - areas I work closely with - experts enter the year with a sense of positivity. In fact, the International Energy Agency (lEA) estimates that oil demand will continue to grow, hitting 103 MMbbl/d by 2040. While OPEC's 2016 World Oil Outlook believes that the market is heading toward a more balanced situation.
In the U.S., President Trump is focused heavily on reinvigorating the energy and oil and gas industries, with plans to lift restrictions and open access to federal land. One of his first executive orders signed off on the construction of two oil pipelines. If the President continues to follow through with his plans, attorneys supporting these businesses are likely to find themselves busier than they have been for a few years.
For the U.K., the future is still showing signs of uncertainty; however, gas and oil companies are making investments in oilfields throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Deals are being made with the United Arab of Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Libya, where oil production is high and opportunities exist. Lawyer s throughout EMEA should expect an increase in demand for their services.
In a year that's being termed as "the slow road back" for the oil and gas industry by Deliotte's John England, I foresee a more positive outlook for the industry and legal professionals who have had limited opportunities to develop for quite some time now.
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This article was originally featured in NETWORK, British American Business, March 2017.
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Nina Gray leads the Energy and Manufacturing sectors in our EMEA In-House Practice Group, where she focuses on general counsel search and the expansion of in-house legal teams. Her experience is global, with more than 20 years' experience in North America and more than eight years in EMEA.