2022 outlook

Upstream oil and gas: top trends and wildcards to watch in 2022

The oil and gas sector bounceback is set to continue – but the positive outlook is tempered by concerns about its future in a decarbonising world. Find out how global trends could play out in your region.

Get complimentary reports from our 2022 Outlook series, including:

  • Global upstream: 5 things to look for in 2022
  • Asia Pacific
  • Canada
  • North Sea
  • And more from our experts around the globe

1 minute read

What are the key trends to watch in the upstream oil and gas industry in 2022?

Another year of record cash flows for the upstream oil and gas sector in 2022. But the outlook is not entirely positive – the global push for decarbonisation brings a great deal of uncertainty about the future. The upstream industry must respond quickly and decisively to the implications of pledges made at COP26. Resource-rich governments must consider their role and set a course for the industry to follow. 

What are the themes to look out for heading into 2022? Drawing on powerful insight from Wood Mackenzie Lens, our team of global experts came together to share their predictions for the industry in 2022 – and a few wildcards to watch out for.  

Read the global overview for our take on:  

  1. Record cash flows under increasing scrutiny 
  2. Oil and gas reinvestment rates remaining critical 
  3. Operators walking the walk on Scope 1 and 2 decarbonisation 
  4. Cracks in a fragile service sector widening 
  5. Explorers keeping options open for the energy transition. 

Download your complimentary copy of the global overview.  

Find out how global upstream trends might play out in your region: 

Asia Pacific

North Sea




Sub-Saharan Africa

Continental Europe

US Gulf of Mexico

Latin America

US Lower 48




Asia Pacific

In this report, our Asia Pacific upstream experts pick out five things to look for in 2022, from cautious optimism ushered in by rebounding oil prices, to supply-side issues – from LNG backfill to maintenance backlogs – that need urgent attention. Plus, the biggest operators are laser-focused on decarbonisation. 

Find out more in Asia-Pacific: 5 things to look for in 2022

Saloni Kapoor, Research Analyst, Asia Pacific Upstream


In 2022, Canadian companies will continue to see robust cash flow and continued development towards emissions targets. In this insight, we look at the key themes to watch out for, from CCS development to Canada’s potential to achieve a natural gas production mark not seen in 20 years.

 Find out more in Canada upstream: 5 things to look for in 2022. 

Scott Norlin, Research Analyst


From Azerbaijan to Central Asia, will the Caspian sector deliver on its upstream and energy transition plans? From portfolio growth to gas market reforms, project delivery and defining roles in domestic low-carbon strategies, our experts look at the key themes for the year ahead.

Read Caspian upstream: 5 things to look for in 2022 to find out more. 

Continental Europe

It’s a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new’ for Europe’s upstream industry in 2022. In this report, our experts look at the potential impact of the shutdown of Groningen, Europe's largest gas field, alongside new opportunities at the region’s frontiers. Plus, fresh attention – and funding – for CCS, and more.

Find out more in Continental Europe upstream: 5 things to look for in 2022. 

Kevin Swann, Senior Research Analyst

Latin America

What will 2022 look like for Latin America upstream? Growth projects are marching forward alongside increased levels of high stakes exploration – but there is continued economic and political instability to navigate. Plus, will the energy transition pace pick up in the region? Who’s moving fastest and what could change?

Find out more in Latin America upstream: 5 things to look for in 2022.

Marcelo de Assis, Director, Latin America Upstream

Middle East and North Africa

2022 could herald exciting times for the upstream sector in the MENA region. As OPEC+ production cuts unwind, many NOCs will seek to maximise production as the energy transition gathers pace. Others will begin to make good on net zero pledges. 

To find out more, read Middle East and North Africa upstream: 5 things to look for in 2022.

Ian Thom, Research Director, Middle East Upstream

North Sea

Long-term upstream uncertainty isn’t abating, but in the short-term the North Sea outlook is relatively positiveIn this report we highlight five key themes to watch, from production growth and near-record cash flows to the record number of FIDs on the tableAnd will Norway’s oil and gas operators look to harness the power of wind? 

Find out more in North Sea upstream: 5 things to look for in 2022. 

Lucy King, Research Analyst, North Sea Upstream

Russian Federation

After a strong rebound in 2021, Russia’s upstream will continue to deliver in 2022. Driven by a new gas production record, total oil and gas production could reach new highs. And what role could Russia play in delivering gas to ease a supply crunch in the European gas market? 

Find out more in Russian Federation upstream: 5 things to look for in 2022. 

Michael Moynihan, Research Director, Russia Upstream Oil and Gas

Sub-Saharan Africa

The year ahead will be one of big changes across Sub-Saharan Africa’s upstream industry. Decarbonisation dominates, with companies and governments keener than ever to boost their green credentials following COP26And while there is a mounting backlog of assets for sale in the region, we expect significant movement in 2022 

Find out more in Sub-Saharan Africa upstream: 5 things to look for in 2022. 

Gail Anderson, Research Director, Sub-Saharan Africa Upstream

US Gulf of Mexico

We’re expecting another record year of production and a rebound in capital investment in the US Gulf of Mexico. But there are also looming headwinds. In this report we look at key themes for the year ahead, including the production outlook, supply chain constraints and opportunities in the energy transition space. Plus, will this be the year for exciting M&A activity?

Find out more in US Gulf of Mexico: 5 things to look for in 2022.

US Lower 48

Reduced reinvestment, emerging cost inflation across oil field services, and a greater focus on ESG were top themes of the year for the Lower 48 market in 2021. So what change will 2022 bring? What will drive E&P decisions in the year ahead?

Read our experts' view in  US Lower 48: 4 things to look for in 2022. 

Elena Nikolova, Senior Research Analyst, US Lower 48

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