We met with Mr. Floris Ansingh during his visit in Bratislava. With decades of global experience in the oil and gas industry and Shell blood flowing in his veins, he shares his view of the industry, climate change and speaks about the right timing for entering the alternative energy markets. A business leader native of Netherlands, now active in the Middle East, recently became a new member of GA Drilling Advisory Board, responsible for Business Growth.
How do you think PLASMABIT drilling technology could change the industry?
PLASMABIT adds to the energy mix a completely non-fossil element, that is abundantly available and hopefully at a competitive price. I think, it will change everything in the world. The more I speak to people who are worried about climate change, the more I understand the fear of a lack of urgency to avoid dramatic change to happen. We are all preparing ourselves for a world where there is a solution, and most people count on technology. GA Drilling are developing a technology that is very feasible. I call it a “moon shot”, because of the special nature of the out of box thinking involved. There must be competitors who are trying to do the same thing, but they run far behind. The size of the opportunity is immense. You need abundant availability of energy, so you must really think on a world scale. We stand here in Bratislava, we see all the facilities, and we all know that something big is going to happen soon. That is exciting!
How would you specify petroleum industry and how it has changed over the time?
Let us look at coal, the previous dominant fuel. I remember seeing a film of the Chairman of a coal association in the UK, who said in the forties, gentlemen, one thing is for sure – there is so much coal, it can never end! And a few years later coal was gradually pushed out of the market by a different type of activity – oil & gas. This shows you the vulnerability of a specific model. Now we have the combustion engine for instance – and it is probably becoming obsolete. When? Oil & Gas is here for a long time still, but at the margin we already see alternative energies coming in. I think there will be a quick acceleration and the component of alternative energies will grow much faster than any fossil based energies. It is like the coal guy. I see also some oil & gas guy probably saying that he will be here for another fifty years, and maybe in ten years the situation will completely change…
What have been the principal issues of oil & gas companies in the last decade?
It was the fact we became increasingly aware of climate change and the serious effects associated with this change. We were probably slow to understand it and some of us were in real denial. I think the challenge for the industry is to ensure we are on a pathway of gradual and resolute reduction of the use of fossil fuels. And do that in such a way, that we balance the urgency of action with the need to get the economics right. If you get the timing of the introduction of a new alternative energy wrong, you soon find out the market might not be prepared for it. Other issue of the last decade for Oil was the massive drop in its price. If you make oil very cheap, how can alternative energy compete with that? You need Governments and legislation to help create the right conditions.
What, except for finalising a commercial product, is crucial for company like GA Drilling to break through the branch and succeed in the long-term?
Anything in terms of new development needs a definite proof of concept. Along the milestones of getting there we gain confidence and gain the trust of stakeholders to invest in the development .The most important step of course is a demonstration or pilot plant. Once you can show what you can do, there is no limit to what might happen next.
Currently we experience a huge global anti-hydrocarbon campaign all over the world. How do you think the oil & gas industry will look like in the following decades?
I believe that the oil & gas industry will take the initiatives in the Alternative Energy (like GA Drilling) very seriously, because the Industry will have to respond to the new public demands for reduction in the use of Fossil Fuels. So, I see bridging solutions (more use of gas, abolition of coal) followed by sustainable fuels like solar, wind, hydrogen and steam from using the heat of the core of our earth…