Oil firms seek more value through mergers, outsourcing

Oil companies are fighting to increase profitability in an industry characterized by massive consolidations, environmental pressures, and "price whiplash," says Williams Marko, a principal at Navigant Consulting, Houston.Addressing a Society of Petroleum Engineers luncheon in Houston Jan. 13, Marko listed the factors that he believes correlate directly with improved financial performance. For major oil companies, these are size, business diversity, involvement in the consolidation trend, and low levels of debt. For independents, they are size, diversity, and "oiliness.""In 1999, 'oiliness' was good," said Marko. "This is not surprising, given the oil price rise."Marko analyzed 199...

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