Alexander E. Benton, 2000. "Benton Oil and Gas Company—The Accidental International", International Oil and Gas Ventures: A Business Perspective, George E. Kronman, Don B. Felio, Thomas E. O’Connor, Mindy S. Kronman
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Benton Oil and Gas Company originally started out with Alex Benton’s vision to become a niche domestic player. It would raise capital from California investors to drill prospects primarily on California leases, selling natural gas to the statewide utility company and other California markets. It would maintain low-profile offices near the old Ventura oil and gas fields that were important to the industry earlier in the century. It would maintain a corporate open door policy, so that its statewide investors could feel free to visit the home office at any time. The company would staff itself with cross-trained field development geologists from Shell and geophysicists from Amoco, because in Alex’s opinion those training and talent development programs had produced the best practical and applied specialists in the industry. The company obtained initial financing from, and for a couple of years operated as, a wholly owned subsidiary of an industry partner who was intrigued by such a niche opportunity; however, it was not long before the management felt like it needed more autonomy and capital to stretch its entrepreneurial wings. And stretch them it did. Within 18 months, Benton would be involved in two international projects that would become the driving force of its growth.
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A “one-stop” business view on how to succeed in international exploration and production. Success in the international upstream arena requires more than the technical ability to find oil and gas. Relationships with governments and people, mutually beneficial contracts, workable strategies, and implementation plans are necessary to build strong, mutually beneficial, and profitable ventures. Key components that drive exploration and production in the global environment are examined. Specific topics include negotiating for success, contracts, the role of technology in international strategies, cross-cultural relationships, alliances, and international upstream financing. Authors from around the world, representing industry, governments, national oil companies, consultants, and academia, contributed their perspectives. Views are provided from both sides of the negotiating table, the corporate boardroom, the resident manager, the explorationist, the businessman, and the theoretician. Geoscientists, engineers, and negotiators, who are, or would like to be, involved in the global energy business will find this collection an important reference.