Summary of Oil Titans

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8 Overall

8 Importance

9 Innovation

6 Style


Don't look now, but five nationally owned oil companies (NOCs) control more than half the world's reserves of oil and natural gas. In today's media culture you might expect those firms to be under a constant microscope, but their operations tend to be cloaked in bureaucratic smoke. Valerie Marcel's book sheds valuable light on the way these companies operate and their red-tape constraints. While the book suffers from a rather colorless presentation, it more than compensates with insights into what the NOCs are and how they relate to the world's insatiable thirst for petroleum. getAbstract recommends this report to serious students of the global energy business.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What a powerful role national oil companies (NOCs) play in the global energy business;
  • How the NOCs' unique private-public hybrid influences the way they operate;
  • What unique challenges they face; and
  • How NOCs may grow in the future.

About the Authors

Valerie Marcel is a principal researcher at Chatham House, the Royal Institute for International Affairs, a leading independent research organization. An expert on energy issues, she co-authored Iraq's Oil Tomorrow with associate research fellow John V. Mitchell.



In the Beginning...

Creating national oil companies gave oil-producing states the technical and organizational means to one day take over the world's oil resources. Today, just five national oil companies (Saudi Arabia's Aramco, the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, the Iranian National Petrochemical Company, Sonatrach of Algeria and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) own half the world's reserves of oil and natural gas. Yet, very little is known about these countries, their oil companies, or their values, management strategies and objectives.

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