June 2010 Vol. 237 No. 6

Features

Big Oil Faces Global Competition From National Oil Companies

Until recently, nationalized oil companies (NOCs) posed a competitive threat to international oil companies (IOCs) only in their home countries. However, a number of factors have now converged to prompt once-isolated NOCs to expand their reach on a global scale. This emerging threat will force IOCs to devise new strategies to compete in the worldwide marketplace against nationalized companies, for which profits and shareholder satisfaction are not the only motivating factors. The role of the state has declined steadily in nearly every sector of world economic activity. However, the pattern in hydrocarbons is very different. For better or worse, NOCs remain firmly in control of

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