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Abstract

The explorationist is, by nature, a bench scientist, focused on play-specific data sets. Today’s explorationist, and the explorationist of the future, must be much more than that, especially in international environments. Professionals in the international E&P (exploration and production) business must be attuned not only to prospect-specific details, but also to the entire context for international oil and gas exploration. It is crucial that explorationists learn to decipher and understand trends and signals and, even more importantly, to look for strategies that allow their businesses to progress through the worst of times. Indeed, it is the risk and uncertainty inherent in oil and gas exploration that makes this industry so alluring, and that has attracted and kept such enormous talent over the decades. But it is the management of risk and uncertainty, and the ability to see “both the forest and the trees,” that allows any industry, firm, or individual professional to endure. Sorting through the maze of risks and uncertainties inherent in international oil and gas exploration is a major priority for explorationists. Although the oil and gas business has always been subject to great volatility and disruptions, both commodity price cycles and external forces are more acute as exploration frontiers become ever more remote. The search has accelerated for practices and strategies that will enable companies to exert more control over their businesses in the face of challenging environments. These practices and strategies include not only technologies and management approaches that reduce costs of finding and development, but also new ways of fundamentally financing, structuring, and organizing exploration operations worldwide. This chapter of this book, International Oil and Gas Ventures: A Business Perspective, addresses the business context for international oil and gas exploration. The topics covered range from drivers for international exploration to worldwide oil and gas supply, demand and price dynamics and geopolitics to the role of government, and industry organization and structure, perhaps one of the most vital questions for explorationists in the twenty-first century.

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