• 4 hours Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 8 hours Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 14 hours Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 16 hours Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 17 hours Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 1 day Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 1 day Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 1 day China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 2 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 2 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 2 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 2 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 2 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 2 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 2 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 2 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 3 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 3 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 3 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 3 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 5 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 5 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 6 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 6 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 6 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 6 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 6 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 6 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 6 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 6 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 7 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 7 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 7 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
  • 7 days Oil Throwback: BP Is Bringing Back The Amoco Brand
  • 7 days Libyan Oil Output Covers 25% Of 2017 Budget Needs
  • 7 days District Judge Rules Dakota Access Can Continue Operating
  • 7 days Surprise Oil Inventory Build Shocks Markets
  • 8 days France’s Biggest Listed Bank To Stop Funding Shale, Oil Sands Projects
  • 8 days Syria’s Kurds Aim To Control Oil-Rich Areas
  • 8 days Chinese Teapots Create $5B JV To Compete With State Firms
Alt Text

India’s Urban Explosion Boosts Oil Demand

As India sees incredible growth…

Alt Text

Russia And China Continue To Boost Oil Ties

The Russia-China alliance is strengthening…

Alt Text

Oil Prices Spike On Middle East Tensions

Oil prices jumped upwards on…

Consulting, the Bane of the Oil & Gas Industry

An interesting document published by Wikileaks reveals how oil companies have attempted to handle the challenge posed by environmental opposition to the North American shale boom—and how they were wrong-footed by ill-conceived analysis by arm-chair consultants.

The document in question came from Stratfor, which has made its biggest fame thanks to the publications of the company’s hacked files and emails by Wikileaks. We will refrain from speculating on the end-user of this document--a Power Point presentation called “Oil Sands Market Campaigns”—but specific wording and mentions offer some hints.

The overall advice offered by Stratfor was for the industry to ignore the increasing campaign against oil sands expansion on the premise that the activist groups didn’t have the necessary political influence to pose a real challenge. Specifically, the document suggested that zero response by the oil industry would work based on the fact that "activists are not stopping oil sands' growth and they have no power in Alberta or Ottawa. Chance of success with U.S. government is slim." The prediction was that if companies simply ignored the oil sands activism, the activists would simply refocus all their attention on something else, like fracking.

The document paid only lip service to the “worst-case scenario” in which this campaign would grow to be the most influential environmental movement in history. It is this worst-case scenario—the least probable according to the document—that has come to pass, as attested to by the delay in Keystone XL and the snowballing protests across North America, among other things. We are no longer talking about non-profit groups in this activism, but large and very influential power brokers like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council—and even then, back in 2010 when the document was released, it would have been less than intuitive to suggest that the campaign could involve only activists with no political influence.

“Consulting” is a tricky business, and while Wikileaks has catapulted Stratfor into fame, for anyone who has taken the time to read the leaked documents—not only the analysis, but also the hacked email exchanges among staff providing analysis—the overriding conclusion can only be that this is not the stuff of great minds, nor is it the choice when discretion is paramount.

Amid this cacophony of protest and response, another idea has emerged—the use of social media by the oil and gas industry. This is basically a method of fighting fire with fire, and as Foster Marketing notes in a report, the oil and gas industry remains skeptical about the use of social media and the results it can achieve, despite the fact that it has achieved clear results for activists.

Certainly social media has played a key role in the activism surrounding Keystone XL, with great affect, but it can also work in the opposite direction. In a recent Bloomberg National Poll, 56% of respondents thought Keystone XL had the potential to reduce dependence on oil imports from “less reliable trading partners.” Only 35% view it as a “potential source of damaging oil spills and harmful greenhouse gas emissions.” Social media can play a clear role in shaping this balance.

Be sure to check out our pre-Christmas hot stock pick this week from Dan Dicker in the premium Oil & Energy Insider, Dave Forest looks at a rather unique energy arvitrage opportunity and special intel notes on Mexico and Venezuela and much more. After the holiday break, get ready for a special edition of Oil & Energy Insider, as we take you through our global intelligence and analysis service and our unique methodology.

Give Oilprice.com Premium a try. It’s completely free for 30 days and you will get access to hundreds of detailed investment and intelligence reports in our archive and over 30 new intel reports during your free trial (we won’t take a penny from you.) Click here to find out more.

James Stafford
Editor, Oilprice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • andre on December 21 2013 said:
    Impressive indeed. But...
    Presentation states the rational behind the anti-oil sand campaign,describes the methods and basics of how such campaign is planned, mentions main activist groups involved in execution of such a campaign and presents multiple options of how the corporation in oil-sand business could repel such a campaign.
    Not only that presentation doesn't emphasize any specific engagement tactics, no any specific development scenario is mentioned as most probable.
    Well, Mr. Stafford got confused and the conclusion is pretty far from the reality. That could happen to each of us.
    But wait...Doesn't the article promote oilprice.com own analytic service? It sure does.
    It doesn't seem right to kibosh other service to promote yours, though this, I assume, could be tolerated in one way or another. But doing it in such a lame way should actually scare the potential subscribes.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News