In the run-up to OTC 2015, the sustained low oil price and its vast repercussions for the energy industry unsurprisingly remain front of mind.

The oil price decline is affecting companies of all shapes and sizes, operating at every level of the supply chain, across all regions. Perhaps most interesting though is that, despite the challenges faced, the current economic environment could yield some positives for the oil and gas sector.

The industry has recognised that to secure its future prosperity, it shouldn’t waste a crisis. And one example we’ve seen come to the fore is the opportunity for optimising operations.

The sector enjoyed $100+ oil for some time – when margins were high, the sheer availability of highly customisable, state-of-the-art technology meant that bespoke operations were the norm. The industry could afford precise engineering, tailored to the exact specifications of the project in question.

While the industry’s ability to innovate has undoubtedly facilitated its progression, in an era of $60 oil, declining margins are suddenly the driving force of change. Operators are tightening their belts and, as a result, approaching operations with a renewed caution. Now is the time to challenge some of the decisions that have become the industry norm.

Operators and service companies alike are consciously shifting towards a new era of standardisation, steering away from the desire for over-engineering and instead aiming for simplicity. Significant savings are already being realised by eliminating some of the ‘nice to haves’ without compromising on safety, quality or efficiency. Crucially, by going back to basics, technologies can be delivered in a more cost-effective way, yet still perform to the highest standards.

Naturally, any period of uncertainty comes with communications challenges. A strategic communications approach is vital during a time of transformation, and key to preserving stakeholder faith. Here is Aspectus’ top three tips for communicating during periods of change:

1. Clarity

Messaging is the foundation of all communications activity. It ensures that communications programmes have a long term, transformative effect on stakeholder perceptions. During any period of change or uncertainty, core messages must remain clear, concise and streamlined to engender confidence in organisations.

2. Consistency

Maintaining and delivering a consistent message is key, both internally and externally and across each of your communications channels. Replaying a consistent message over time will help to reassure stakeholders that they are in safe hands.

3. Continuity

Keeping communications continuous is vital. In times of crisis it can be tempting for organisations to pull back on engagement, but keeping communications regular and consistent ensures that stakeholders feel informed. Furthermore, taking a proactive approach to communications means you remain in control of the messages that are being relayed in the market place.

Stakeholder engagement is arguably most important during times of change and uncertainty. This is where an external communications partner can help. Bringing in specialist knowledge and expertise can ensure that the strategy, tactics and messaging you employ put your organisation on the front foot when it comes to communicating in challenging environments.

Aspectus has significant experience with helping oil and gas clients engage with their stakeholders by translating complex messages into powerful communications. Our energy team is trusted by major international players, respected by journalists worldwide, and has a demonstrable track record achieving business outcomes for our clients.

Aspectus is attending OTC from the 4th to 7th May 2015. Get in touch to find out how we can help you navigate the communications challenges of operating in a down market.

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