Energy, chemicals and utilities

We help clients generate strategies that work, develop distinct capabilities, and align investments for sustainable growth.

Strategy that works

PwC’s strategy consulting team Strategy& provides comprehensive advice and support to clients across a range of issues in the upstream oil and gas, downstream oil and gas, chemicals, alternative energy and chemicals sectors.

How we can help you

The upstream sector covers the exploration and production of oil and gas, and the related service sectors, including oil-field services, logistics, and construction/development.

Against a backdrop of volatile oil and gas prices, high and rising development costs, the increasing heterogeneity of project portfolios, rising geopolitical tensions, and an ever more competitive landscape, industry investors are looking for the next level of performance. All players, from supermajors and majors to independents and national oil companies, are reviewing their strategies and focus; they are identifying and capturing new opportunities as they leverage innovative technologies to increase capital efficiency and access new resources. In brief, players are adapting operating models and capabilities to respond to the plethora of business challenges.

Investment in global exploration and production continues to grow, albeit at a less accelerated rate, as new hydrocarbon finds become technically more challenging to access. Hence the increasing focus on unconventional hydrocarbons. The industry remains dynamic, innovative, and responsive, as illustrated by the impact of the shale gas revolution in the U.S., which has redrawn the global energy map across multiple dimensions.

Drawing on its global capabilities and industry and functional foresight, PwC’s strategy consulting team Strategy& has proven to be effective in creating and delivering essential advantage to upstream oil and gas clients across the globe over many years. Service offerings include:

  • We help clients develop and execute new strategies
  • We assist clients enhance their operational readiness and effectiveness
  • We work alongside clients to tackle tight labour markets, develop new skills, address discipline requirements, and build sustainable workforce strategies

The downstream sector is broad in scope, extending from crude supply, trading, and refining through to product distribution, marketing, and retail (oil products and convenience goods). It includes conventional fuels such as gasoline and diesel as well as low-carbon fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.

This sector is experiencing a period of rapid change. Global refining capacity continues to grow, driven mainly by non-OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, and in particular, Asia. However, excess refining capacity is putting significant downward pressure on global refining margins. European refineries have been adversely impacted as they go through significant restructuring, dealing with the twin pressures of margin erosion and a suboptimal refinery configuration (too much gasoline production and not enough diesel). Across the Atlantic, there is a different story. The shale gas revolution in the U.S. has also reshaped the refining market. Increased tight oil production, combined with a regulatory ban on crude exports, has resulted in a booming refining sector. This in turn has resulted in more refined product (especially gasoline) being exported and competing with European exports, to their detriment.

Drawing on a deep understanding of industry dynamics, extensive cross-sector experience and broad functional capabilities, PwC’s strategy consulting team Strategy& delivers essential advantage to organisations in the downstream oil and gas, refining, supply and trading, and fuels marketing sectors. Service offerings include:

  • We help clients develop and implement sector-level, regional, and business unit strategies
  • We support clients in reviewing and improving their day-to-day business, operational integrity and safety, and operational efficiency
  • We work with clients to develop new and innovative customer offers to meet the intensifying competitive environment
  • We assist clients to better measure and monitor performance and develop innovative solutions to achieve desired corporate results

Including wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, biomass, hydrogen fuel cells, waste coal, and municipal solid waste, these resources can provide clean energy and transportation fuels that emit minimal to zero atmospheric pollutants.

In an environment of escalating oil prices, heightened concern about the security of supply, and the increasingly visible impact of global warming, investment in alternative energy technologies is growing dramatically.

Venture capital funds and energy companies, to technology firms and national governments, are investing billions in the whole spectrum of alternative energy sources. In the face of this activity, incumbent players need to rethink their business portfolios and build a clear view of future developments and returns.

Combining our deep understanding of market developments, regulatory frameworks and the underlying technologies with extensive cross-sector experience, PwC’s strategy consulting team Strategy& is well positioned to deliver essential advantage to organisations in the alternative energy space.

The chemicals industry covers a number of sectors, from petrochemicals through toand specialities. The sector is undergoing rapid change, with accelerating globalisation and recent high raw material and oil and gas prices.

Drawn by a strong market potential for chemicals, traditional players are moving into Asia, especially to China, and new Asian entrants are experiencing strong growth rates. The U.S. chemicals industry has revived under the influence of shale gas, while the Middle East and Russia retain their traditional advantages based on abundant conventional feedstocks. In traditional Western markets, margins are eroding as a consequence of continuous price pressure, dwindling demand growth, and the lack of “real” innovation.

As a result, chemicals companies must develop new strategies to increase profitability and take advantage of opportunities in high-growth markets and regions. In addition, mergers and acquisitions are regaining importance as a way for chemicals companies to optimise their business portfolio and increase market share; private equity investors are playing an ever more important role.

Drawing on sharp foresight, proven industry knowledge, and deep and diverse functional expertise, PwC’s strategy consulting team Strategy& is dedicated to creating and delivering the essential advantage organisations need to thrive in a changing world. Service offerings include:

  • We assist clients in achieving maximum effectiveness in day-to-day business operations including commercial excellence, supply chain and manufacturing
  • We support our clients though all phases of the transaction processes; deal shaping, carve-out, signing through closing, and integration programme implementation
  • We help clients build competitive strategies for accessing, developing, and deploying new technology
  • We review the evolution of global chemical supply chains from the cracker to the end-market and plot the consequences for individual markets and companies

The utilities sector encompasses electricity, water and the downstream natural gas industries. Sub-sectors include electricity generation, wholesale trading, transmission, local distribution and retail; water distribution, waste water treatment and water retail activities; and gas transportation, treatment, storage, trading and retail.

The utilities sector faces a number of fundamental challenges. Demand for energy continues to rise, whilst existing infrastructure needs updating. As the major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, the power sector is taking the lead in carbon abatement, resulting in a shift towards low carbon technologies. Meanwhile, high fuel costs have driven prices up, raising concerns about energy affordability for both households and firms.

Drawing on our foresight, proven industry expertise and our deep and diverse functional expertise, PwC’s strategy consulting team Strategy& is dedicated to creating and delivering the essential advantage organisations need to thrive in a changing world. Service offerings include:

  • We help clients meet the strategic and competitive challenges they face
  • We assist clients to review and improve day-to-day business operations
  • We help clients build competitive strategies for accessing, developing, and deploying new technology


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