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Oil Titans

National Oil Companies in the Middle East

March 2006

Abstract: 
This book provides a rare, up-to-date insight into how state-owned companies are striking a balance between their national mission and their commercial needs.

Ninety per cent of the world’s oil reserves are entrusted to state-owned companies. Originally created as political instruments, these so-called national oil companies (NOCs) face new demands amid today’s dwindling oil reserves and simmering social pressures. Increasingly, state-owned oil firms – particularly in the Middle East – are having to balance the political demands of their governments with the need to be

In this ground-breaking volume, Valerie Marcel draws on unprecedented access to the politicians, engineers and businessmen directing five Middle Eastern state oil companies to shed light on one of the most secretive segments of the international oil industry. The author provides a rare insight into how state-owned companies are striking a balance between their national mission and their commercial needs. Executives and researchers in the region - both inside and outside the oil industry - will find it a valuable tool for understanding business in the Middle East.

'Valerie Marcel has conducted a far-reaching study. The number and quality of her interviews, and the accuracy of her analysis produce a result both new and most useful. Rather than the usual description of the national oil companies from the outside, she gets them to reveal themselves in a striking psychological exercise.' - Jacques de Boisséson, former Director for International Relations, TOTAL.

'The companies analysed in this excellent book produce one-quarter of the world's oil. Still, the world knows little about these national oil companies and their perspectives. … Marcel had unique access to the inner life of the companies and is able to shed light on the drivers, goals and challenges they face.' - Willy Olsen, former Senior Adviser to the President & CEO of Statoil.

Valerie Marcel is a Principal Researcher at Chatham House. John V Mitchell is Associate Research Fellow at Chatham House and research adviser at the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies. They are coauthors of Iraq's Oil Tomorrow (Chatham House, 2003).

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Author(s): Valerie Marcel, John V Mitchell (contributor)
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