Oil is all about access, not production. And therefore, only those who have access to the black gold can pump up extraordinary profits.
It is estimated that three quarters of the world’s 1,653 billion barrels of proven oil reserves are in the hands of national oil companies with no foreign participation. Many of them are in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) cartel. That’s how they have managed to control the supply and keep oil prices soaring.
Then you have the anomaly - the so-called century old multi-national oil companies, ExxonMobil Corp, The Royal Dutch/Shell Group, BP and Chevron Corp - who used to own the oil world. Now they offer their expertise and know-how to any country who will lend them access... and still make extraordinary profits (minus pollution payouts) because they have established markets everywhere.
But therein lies Petronas’ dilemma, a young upstart of 38 years which has neither full know-how, nor international access or great oil assets. It is struggling between transforming into an international major oil company or staying as a national oil concern. Fairly speaking, Petronas is now neither here nor there.
One long-time observer of the company put it unkindly: “They are earning a reputation for biting off more than they can chew.”
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