Major companies that once controlled the world's oil resources, refineries and distribution systems are now having to share the market with national oil companies, independent producers and local distributors, while developing nations are extending ever more attractive terms for exploration, development and production. The result is an increase in the overall world oil supply and an intensification of competition in the industry. Such challenges force oil producers to search for new technologies in order to remain competitive in the world market. Strategic positioning plays an important role, determining whether a producer can benefit from the latest technologies and is able to dispose of its oil in the international market, or profit from the oil-price fluctuations in the commodity market. This study considers strategic positioning and the options available to countries and companies alike in terms of their upstream and downstream industries.
Paul Steven is affiliated with the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research.
Introduction - strategic positioning in the oil industry - trends and options, Paul Stevens; vertical integration as a strategy for oil security, Giacomo Luciani, Mario Salustri; international downstream integration of national oil companies, Majid A. Al-Moneef; strategic options and opportunities for Gulf oil companies in the Asian Market, Keiichi Yokobori; oil refining and petroleum-product specifications in Asia, Tilak Dishi; "back-door" privatization initiatives in the Gulf -an inadequate step in the right direction, Wael Al-Mazeedi.