International Business Strategy Critically Analyze the Macro Essay

Pages: 10 (3049 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Energy

International Business Strategy

Critically analyze the macro environmental and competitive conditions of the oil and gas industry

Oil and gas industry is one of the most important industries in the world today because of the huge impact it has on people, their governments, economy and the growth and development of the entire world at large. Though this is a powerful sector, it also faces stiff competition and problems and has to be on the constant lookout for events that can dampen this industry.

Competition from renewable resources

Despite the pervasive nature of the oil and gas industry, it is also beset by numerous challenges that the members of this industry have to overcome to continue their production and ability to make profits. The primary problem is the finite nature of the oil resources that is available. Though the exact amount of oil reserves is not known and is highly debatable, there is no doubt that it will be exhausted sometime in the future. Since the entire world runs on oil and is used in almost every aspect of human life, there is a big question of what happens when the world runs out of oil. To prepare themselves for this situation, many green and environment-conscious companies are investing money in alternate sources of energy that are renewable like solar, wind and water.

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Currently, these renewable sources are a not a major threat to the oil and gas industry because they are in the nascent stages of development. It is likely to take a lot more time to come up with a technology that can effectively harness these renewable sources. The exact time-frame is not known, but the entire world has to transform the way they think about energy and its usage for this transformation to take place. So, it is not an immediate threat to the oil and gas industry. However, it is a good idea for the players in this industry to devise ways to be competitive when the technology to tap renewable resources becomes mature.

TOPIC: Essay on International Business Strategy Critically Analyze the Macro Assignment

This is the time for the oil and gas companies to start preparing to handle competition from renewable energy sources because the industry currently has an upper hand in terms of usage and availability. The resources are not going to be exhausted within the next few decades and people all over the world depend on this industry for every aspect of their life -- from food to transportation to recreation. The price of crude oil and natural gas is one of the most followed prices in the commodity markets and many governments around the world have become stronger or weaker based on their handling of energy prices and the problems that come with it. These inherent advantages further strengthen the industry and it also gives them a lot of time and money to become more competitive. The players in this industry have to seize this opportunity and innovate their technology and undertake extensive investment to continue to stay on top of renewable resources.

There are two aspects that can make this industry more competitive against renewable resources. The first is the cost and the second is the impact on the environment. More and more people understand the impact of drilling oil on the environment, especially in the wake of changing weather patterns. To appease these people and to continue its dominance, the oil industry has to invest heavily in technology that will reduce carbon emissions and the release of greenhouse gases to the environment. Also, more resources have to be explored so that when one region becomes dry, the industry can focus on another region while giving the dried-out regions the much needed time to recuperate. Another aspect that can be turned in its favor is the price of oil. Though the demand and supply factors dictate the price to a large extent, consolidated groups like OPEC can intervene to have a bigger say in it.

An in-depth analysis of these factors are presented below.

Price of Oil

The price of oil has risen steadily during the last fifty years or so. The cost of one barrel of oil was around $2.50 to $3.00 in 1948 and today, it is well more than $100 (Inkpen, 2010). Even after accounting for inflation, this is a huge increase in its costs. The price increase may augur well for the oil-producing countries, but not for the people around the world. When the price of oil spikes, it increases the cost of food and transportation and this results in poverty and gross inflation of essential goods. When this happens, more and more people will be looking at alternate sources of energy and this can eat into the profits of the oil and gas industry within the next few decades.

In order to stay competitive, the oil-extracting companies should come with a trade embargo that restricts the price increase to reasonable levels. One way to do is to come up with a more efficient and cost-effective way to drill and extract oil and the other is to discover new oil reserves that will boost supply and keep the price in equilibrium. The International Energy Agency (IAEA) predicts that the demand for energy will go up by 60% in 2030 and more than 80% of this demand will come from non-oil-producing countries. (Inkpen, 2010). In this industry, there are only a handful of producers and the remaining countries are consumers and this means that the prices can be controlled by the countries that produce it. The industry should be in a position to capitalize on this demand and one of the best ways to start is to have a cap on the price rise.

Discovery of new resources

The Discovery of new oil resources is vital for the survival of this industry. Though there are abundant supplies currently in Saudi Arabia and other middle-eastern countries, it will eventually run dry one day and so its important that new resources are identified to replenish them. A case in point is the extensive resources found in Alberta, Canada. Though these reserves were identified earlier, there was no means to extract them because they were present in oil sands that contain a combination of sand, clay, water and petroleum. New advances made in technology make it easy to extract the oil from these sands today and it is estimated that it contains the second largest reserve after Saudi Arabia. More such resources should be identified and the technology required to convert them into usable oil should be developed in order for this industry to continue to have its dominance in the energy sector.

Human, social, economical and environmental Impact

Another major issues facing the oil and gas industry is its negative impact on the environment as well as on the people who depend on it. The drilling and exploration has a direct and indirect impact on the region in which it operates.

The most important indirect impact is the changing use of available land. Agricultural pastures are being converted into roads that will help to access the drilling sites easily. In some cases, the land that is being used for fishing or agriculture is being take away on the prospects of finding oil. This hampers not only the environment, but also the people who depend on it for their livelihood. Also, more and more people join the oil exploration companies as laborers and their original occupation as a farmer or fisherman is lost. As a result of these changes in labor and land use, the agricultural yield per person falls and this can result in food shortages in the region.

Another impact is the influx of immigrant population from other countries as cheap labor and the social differences and inequalities that come with it. A certain section of the population gain a lot while others are grossly deprived and this further creates a rift in the society with the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poor. In most cases, the people in the oil-rich region are poor while the companies increase their profit margins. A perfect example of this situation is Nigeria where a good percentage of the population lives below the poverty line while the oil companies that explore and drill oil here are prosperous. It is estimated that more than $380 billion of Government revenues have been lost or stolen since the 1960 and this is one of the reasons for the continued poverty in this country despite having one of the highest reserves of oil in the world. (Inkpen, 2010). This is partly because of corrupt regimes and lack of initiatives from the oil companies to improve the conditions of the people there. This can be a major setback for this industry in the long-run. Though some oil companies undertake programs to help the local people and protect the environment, it may not be enough and its important that they plough some of this money back to this region for overall prosperity of the people as well as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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