Balance needed in operating agreements as industry's center of gravity shifts to state oil firms

The oil and gas business has undergone a fundamental shift in industry structure in recent years. Peter A. Davies, chief economist at BP, recently observed: "The most remarkable characteristic relating to the oil industry is probably the fact that its industrial structure remained largely intact for some 70 years or so, despite a wide range of global changes in markets, geopolitics, and technology. This period of constancy appears to have come to an abrupt end during 1998-99."As the economic forces driving this change continue, the industry as we have known it will become less and less recognizable.Four main factors account for the change:The increasing difficulty of finding new reserves ...

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