The oil companies are among the businesses most affected by the future of fossil fuel resources. Consequently they are trying to foresee what might happen and prepare for it. Shell, for example, has been drawing up energy scenarios since the 1970s. Albert Bressand was in charge of Shell's most recent foresight exercise, looking ahead to 2025, which presented a range of "global" scenarios that tried to envisage the likely developments with regard to energy.
After recalling the old but still relevant debate about the risks of shortage (Hubbert's peak), he stresses the importance of certain factors of discontinuity which are too often overlooked: the possibility that the link between energy and growth will be broken; the increasing impact of climate change on energy policies; the important role of politics and national issues (especially arising from the need to ensure energy supplies are secure). Albert Bressand takes the opportunity to paint a fairly full picture of the ins and outs of the debate (technical aspects, geopolitical concerns: United States, China, Russia, India, Middle East, etc.).
Lastly, Bressand summarizes Shell's three global scenarios down to 2025, which are built around three goals (security, efficiency and social cohesion) and which aim to take Hubbert's analysis a stage further by adapting it to present circumstances. In his view, it is essential, if we are to have a reliable sense of our energy prospects, to take into consideration - in addition to geological factors and world demand - the preconditions for investment, fiscal policies, regulatory and environmental policies, and international relations, both between producers and consumers and among the most powerful nations.