Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited has launched of its third energy predictions report, Energy & Resources Predictions 2012.

The report provides insight into the key themes likely to impact the energy and resources sector in 2012, including volatility in commodity prices, breakthroughs in nanotechnology, new technologies in oil recovery, the future of oil field services and the rising importance of water footprint for energy companies, which the report claims will be one of the key themes throughout 2012.

“Over the last 12 months there has been no shortage of themes impacting energy and resources globally,” said Carl Hughes, Global Head - Energy & Resources. “From the impact of the ‘Arab Spring’ on oil markets to rising commodity prices to the heated debate over the future of nuclear power, these themes are diverse as they are geographically dispersed and they serve as an underlying current in this year’s report.” The report outlines 10 predictions that could impact the energy and resources sector:

The prices of rare earth metals will remain high, but volatile; Demergers among integrated international oil companies will continue; Nanotechnology research will continue unabated over the long term with some economists predicting a US$1 trillion global market for nanoproducts over the next 10 to 15 years; Gas will become the fuel of choice for several reasons: tightening environmental regulations, expectations of ample supply at competitive prices and the need to back up intermittent renewable sources such as wind and solar to ensure reliability;

Water-related themes represented the number one and number two concerns identified, with even climate change ranked sixth; Oil and gas companies have always dealt with risk, but recent events in the South China Sea demonstrate how geopolitical risks pose problems for the oil and gas industry; Solar-enhanced oil recovery has the potential of revolutionising enhanced oil recovery due to the low estimated cost of glasshouses and the price of producing steam;

The report suggests that the energy marketplace has changed as a result of the recession of 2008-2009 and the continued slow economic growth in many parts of the world;

Based on 40 interviews with executives of offshore oil and gas companies the report predicts that the complexity of the offshore value chain will continue to grow substantially in the next decade and increasing complexity may very well trigger a new round of industry consolidation;

The report outlines the financial impact of piracy on oil and shipping balance sheets.

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