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New Study on 49 National Oil Companies by the World Bank and UT-CEE

Center For Energy Economics
Center For Energy Economics

Energy analysts at The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Energy Economics (CEE) and the World Bank have completed the first comprehensive database of 49 National Oil Companies (NOCs), titled “A Citizen’s Guide to National Oil Companies.” The database is complemented by a technical report containing a preliminary analysis and possible interpretation of the data on 49 NOCs and their home countries.

NOCs control a majority of worldwide petroleum reserves, produce a majority of the world’s crude oil and own much of the world’s oil and gas infrastructure. The way they are managed can have a large impact on the global energy supply. At the domestic level, critics have complained that developing countries with NOCs often miss out on their potential to strengthen economies and improve the quality of human life.

The Guide is part of a larger effort to improve understanding of these organizations and the role each plays within its country’s economic development trajectory. The Study on NOCs and Value Creation, begun by the World Bank in 2008, will analyze the factors that explain the creation of value, and test their relative importance on the basis of the experience of a selected group of NOCs. The objective of the Study, which is expected to be completed in 2010, is to improve the awareness of the relative effectiveness and suitability of alternative policies for the management and oversight of the petroleum sector, with particular reference to the role and functioning of NOCs.

“The Guide provides useful insights on NOCs, the challenges that they face, and their ability and choice of strategies to respond to such challenges.” said Silvana Tordo, lead energy economist in the Oil, Gas and Mining Policy Division at the World Bank. “This is an important first step toward understanding these complex organizations and their contribution to economic and social development in their home country and abroad.”

“The critical question that pops out of the database and initial analysis is whether major oil producing and exporting countries—and their sovereign companies—will be able to meet the global demand for oil and gas post-economic recovery and going forward,” said Michelle Michot Foss, chief energy economist and head of the CEE. “A key issue is modernization of NOCs. How is this best achieved? What are the most viable strategies? What adjustments do governments need to make?”

The CEE is based in the Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. Download a copy of “A Citizen’s Guide to National Oil Companies.”

For more information about research at the Jackson School, contact Marc Airhart at, 512-471-2241.