Throughout the decades to come world’s population is expected to rise as well as the energetic, food and water demand. All that, together with the everyday more rigid international environmental regulations alongside with the ongoing vertiginous technological advancement, will induce to a restructuration of global economy on the inter-governmental and institutional level in order to reinforce the fundamental pillars of sustainability: the environmental, social and economical. New energy systems will be implemented and scarcity of resources will be more severe, leading the economy not only to shift but to adapt to unconventional energy carriers and commodities. This combined with the targeted impact of these policies, concerning living standard improvements, social inclusion and carbon mitigation among others, will raise new and demanding challenges to face.

This paper intends to present an overview of the energetic playing field throughout the transition towards a more sustainable world and the role of the Oil & Gas industry within this period. This article will identify and explain the challenges and constraints to be faced as well as the opportunities of undertaking ventures in this shifting environment. Also, the paper will broaden the concept of Green Economy, main theme of the 2012 UN’s Conference on Sustainable Development, and present strategies to develop an energy system to function and sustainably endure in time within the mentioned framework and explain why the O&G industry is a fundamental participant and a major "game changer" in this process.

Petroleum holds a key role in this transition as being the most widespread energy carrier and the most competitive element of the current energy system. Therefore, the O&G industry has the opportunity to become the main "driver of change" and to impulse a more prosper and sustainable energy network for the world.

It’s imperative that the O&G sector keeps a long-term perspective in order to remain in force and profitable. This paper proposes some guidelines to do so and intends to raise awareness on the fact that sustainability is not only changing the way we analyze a project but moreover the way we do business in the O&G industry.

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