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oil and gas industry is one of the worlds 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 worlds 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 of the 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 areasâ€”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.