The Global Oil & Gas Industry: Management, Strategy and Finance
The oil and gas industry is one of the world’s largest and most important global industries. In this book, we describe and analyze the global oil and gas industry with a focus on the strategic, financial, and business aspects of the industry. Our goal is to provide a single source for anyone interested in how the world’s largest industry actually works: business executives, students, government officials and regulators, people working in the industry, and the general public. A basic premise underlying the book is that despite the size and importance ofthe oil and gas business, there is a basic lack of knowledge about the industry. This lack of knowledge is surprising given how important the industry is in the global economy and how the industry touches our daily lives in so many ways. Although there are thousands of books written about the industry, most are technical guides with very narrow audiences, or populist diatribes on the coming end of society as we know it. Among the books that deal with the business side of the industry, many are written by technical experts for nontechnical readers, such as a nontechnical guide to refining or a nontechnical guide to petroleum geology. Our approach in this book is the opposite: we have written a nontechnical business book that should help readers with technical backgrounds better understand the business of oil and gas. Some readers may recall that this was a major premise of the MBA degree many years ago—a curriculum focused on understanding business management for corporate employees who had reached management positions following careers in technical fields.
We address a wide range of topics, such as how resource nationalism and national security drive the competitive behavior of national oil companies (NOCs), how complex projects are planned and executed, how fiscal regimes are created, how crude oil is bought and sold, why cost management is so critical in the production of oil and gas, why some oil and gas firms are integrated across a diverse set of activities and others have a narrow focus on a single sector, why refining is not as profitable as the upstream, how fuels marketers compete with each other, and how the chemical industry supports a range of different business models. And this is just a small sample of our topic areas—this is in fact a big book!
The book is organized around the oil and gas industry value chain. The industry value chain starts with exploration and ends with products sold to consumers, such as gasoline, heating oil, natural gas for heating and power generation, and thousands of petrochemical products. We explain the different business segments in the value chain, such as exploration, development, production, crude oil marketing, refining, refined product marketing, the natural gas and liquefied natural gas businesses, and the petrochemicals sector. For each segment, we discuss the business and competitive aspects, with the goal of understanding competitive dynamics, key business and financial drivers, bases for competitive advantage, main competitors, and industry competitive challenges. We also discuss a number of NOCs and their evolving role in the industry and provide some predictions about the future of oil and gas. We have tried to make the book as relevant, timely, and accessible as possible. Each chapter includes many real industry examples and case studies. The examples are drawn from all over the world because this industry is perhaps the most global of all industries. Each chapter also includes several “Industry Insights” to provide interesting and unique examples of different industry business practices, competitive actions, or managerial decisions.
The book should be of interest to several different audiences. The first is the people working in the oil and gas industry and especially engineers and scientists who seek greater understanding of the oil and gas business. The book should prove very useful for those making the transition from technical roles to managerial positions, where knowledge of the business is essential for their career development. The oil and gas industry does an excellent job in turning engineers into businessmen, and this book was written with that objective in mind. The book should also be useful for new employees with strong technical training as petroleum or chemical engineers but limited knowledge of the business of oil and gas. A second audience is business students studying the oil and gas industry and looking for a comprehensive reference text. Some of these students will be taking specialized courses in undergraduate and graduate degree programs focused on the global oil and gas industry. The third audience is general readers interested in learning more about the business dynamics of arguably the world’s largest and most important industry.
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