As a sales person starting my professional career selling computers to oil & gas companies in Calgary I would call on customers with less than 25 employees. This was in the early 90’s, a barrel of oil was $11.00 and the economy was in an official recession. As a young sales person I had no idea of the economic turmoil; I was just selling to pay my bills. After a few years some of my customers started to grow from 25 people to 250 people and I was able to enjoy the fruits of a growing economy.
Selling to the oil & gas market that in a growing economy is fun, selling to a market that is shrinking is a challenge. Encana announced they will invest $6.1 Billion dollars in 2009. If you want to look at a mid-size company of 400 employees, ARC Resources is going to spend $585 million dollars in 2009, $350M on maintaining production and $285M on expansion. Baytex is a company of 100 employees and they plan to spend $165 million on exploration in 2009. Money is still being spent in the sector and these companies will invest in technology if it helps achieve the company objective.
The key to success in this market is to channel your energy into helping customers achieve their goals in these tough economic times. How can your technology help companies manage costs and/or improve productivity? The oil & gas has not stopped spending money on technology, they are just due more diligence to the ROI process. The good news for the companies that persevere in the sector, the market will come back and it will be fuelled by growth and opportunity.