$100 trillion needed to rebuild energy infrastructure

The oil and gas industry will need to invest $50-100 trillion to rebuild its ageing infrastructure within the next 7 years and stave off a serious drop in oil and gas production, Matt Simmons, chairman of Simmons & Co. International, told OGJ May 5 at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

In a worst-case scenario, Simmons said, oil and gas output could fall by 10-20% by 2013 if industry does not replace its rusting, corroded assets. Spare capacity also has run out because formerly cheap prices for oil and gas precluded upgrading and construction of new facilities .

The average age of offshore rigs is 25 years, and oil companies have ignored the problem for the past few decades because of the low energy prices, which meant that maintenance has been expensive.

However, the upward trend in prices can help pay for the rebuilding of the energy system, Simmons stated.

"There is no blueprint in place, and this is a global problem. The longer the blueprint is postponed, the more acute the crisis will get," he said.