Welcome to the latest issue of Offshore Technology Focus. 

In this issue, we look at the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which continues to dominate headlines across sectors. We consider how Russian oil in particular has changed in the wake of the war, with many of its former trading partners now unwilling to buy Russian oil, which could create an unusual and paralysing form of symmetry in the global oil sector, as the world’s demand, and Russia’s supplies, skyrocket in tandem. 

Yet Russia continues to produce oil, and find new buyers. India, China and Turkey have all emerged as eager participants in the Russian oil trade, undermining the effectiveness of many of the sanctions Western European powers have imposed on Russia. How long can this situation last, and will the world’s oil ever flow in the directions it once did prior to the war? 

Elsewhere, we consider the impacts of new and emerging technologies on the global oil and gas sector, from a range of angles. From the greenwashing potential of social media to the security risks of drones, and the effectiveness of explosive-proof sensors, the oil and gas industry is seeing much of its work and reputation changed by the relentless advance of technology, posing questions for the sector’s long-term future. 

We also assess relations between European and African actors in the oil and gas sector, and take a closer look at the UK in particular, where a string of unstable governments have flip-flopped on the issue of fracking. With the process both financially lucrative and environmentally destructive, the instability at the top of UK politics has done little to clarify the future of fracking in the UK, and it remains to be seen if the latest administration’s ban on fracking will stand the test of time. 

For all this and more, read on. 

JP Casey, editor