Tullow Shows How Big Oil Could Shake Off Its Torpor
It’s become accepted wisdom in the oil industry that the once-great corporate giants like Shell, BP or ExxonMobil face an inevitable decline as they are shut out of the richest pickings by the state-backed giants of the Middle East, Russia and China.
But the astonishing run of oil discoveries by relative minnow, Tullow Oil, shows that a little imagination could do a lot to shake Big Oil out of its torpor.
In the space of four years, Tullow has led the charge to open up three significant new oil basins containing billions of barrels of reserves. First, offshore Ghana in 2007, then in Uganda in 2008 and finally offshore French Guiana in South America announced today.
This success has come not from luck, but from an entrepreneurial spirit, imaginative strategy and nimble decision making that is a stark contrast to the lumbering giants that dominate the industry.
Tullow built itself up slowly in the 1990s, but really came of age in the previous decade with a pair of acquisitions of smaller oil companies–Energy Africa in 2004 and Hardman Resources 2006.
Most takeovers made by major oil companies in that decade were intended to bulk up revenues and production, profit from corporate synergies. The motivation was simply to be bigger and more powerful....MORE