Posted: May 24th, 2022

Risk Management in Petroleum Industry

Risk management in petroleum industry: case study Libya’s National Oil Corporation (LNOC)

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (LNOC) is a Libyan owned oil corporation that carries out the exploration, production and distribution of both crude and refined oil. LNOC also engages in the oil production and sharing agreement with specialized international companies. Typically, L NOC is the biggest oil producing company in Africa and controls 70% of Libya oil. While LNOC is very rich in oil reserve, however, the company is encountering various risks, which it is having challenges to manage. (World Bank, 2006).

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Complex investments are commonplace in the petroleum industry and they are generally characterized by high-automated infrastructure and processes. Petroleum industry is generally characterized with expensive items which include pipeline, oil tankers, drilling rigs, transport equipment and other expensive items. (World Bank, 2008). With expensive capital equipment to run the business, petroleum industry generally encounters lot of risks at micro and macro levels, which could ultimately escalate into industry-wide crisis. (Fernandes et al. 2010).

More importantly, petroleum industry faces waves of unprecedented challenges because of the constant added costs and regulatory protocols that the industry needs to comply in their business process. The issues make petroleum industry to face several risks factors which include commodity price volatility, oil and gas price movements and risks of oil leakages that could lead to the loss of billion of dollars. Since petroleum industry is characterized with capital-intensive projects, the industry always implements the mega project which is difficult to manage. Petroleum industry is also increasingly engaging in mega-projects where development of project costs may run into billion of dollars. Such projects generally entail enormous challenges in planning, logistics, scheduling, data management and communication. “As expanding project scope becomes bigger challenges to manage project risk grow bigger.” (Oracle, 2011 P. 2). With increase in the project scope, creating a new risk management also become challenging.

Similar to the risks associated to petroleum industry, LNOC encounters various risks while implementing its business operations, which the company is encountering challenges to manage. (Energy Information Administration, 2012).

1.2: Problem Statement

Risk is a state of uncertainty which could lead to a negative outcome. “Uncertainty and risk are everywhere in the petroleum industry.” (Nolan & Thurber 2010 P. 9). Within the last few decades, Libya’s National Oil Corporation has faced various risks during its business operations. Exploration risks are the major risks that the company is facing. Moreover, the corporation faces series of and non-quantifiable risks that impede its operations and some of the quantifiable and non-quantifiable risks are as follows:

Quantifiable Risks

Non-quantifiable Risks

Financing/financial risk

Operational risk

Market/price risk

Legal risk

Modeling/valuation risk

Political risk

Business continuity risk

Technological risk

Credit/default risk

Strategic/franchise risk

Volumetric risk

Staffing/organization risk

Operations risk

Regulatory risk

Financial reporting risk

Environmental risk

With complexity of multiple risks facing the company, LNOC has not yet devised a valid and reliable methodology to manage these risks. Thus, LNOC requires a sophisticated and comprehensive risk management approach to manage the risks.

1.3: Dissertation Aims & Objectives

To develop a risk management methodology in petroleum industry: Case study of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (LNOC).

1.4: Dissertation Hypothesis

Risk management is very complex to implement within the petroleum industry. Fluctuation in market price is one of the risks that LNOC is encountering in its operations. Since the company is largely dependent on government, the company lacks effective methodology to manage the risks facing the company. While LNOC is envisaging in risk management plan, choosing the right methodology to manage the risks has become challenging for the company. Nolan, et al., (2010) argues that project could be accomplished with minimal risks if an organization:

chooses a project carrying lower uncertainty

Estimating the project uncertainties before project implementation,

Reducing capital that would be invested in a project with higher uncertainties.

HI: Effective methodology for Libya’s National Oil Company to manage the risks is by conducting a project risk feasibility plan to identify the risks and identify the method to control the risks before embarking on the project.

Ho: Effective methodology for Libya’s National Oil Company to manage the risks is not by conducting a project risk feasibility plan to identify the risks and identify the method to control the risks before embarking on the project.

1.5: Dissertation Methodology

Research methodology is a method this study will use in carrying out the data collection. The research will collect both primary and secondary data to complete the study. The quantitative statistical method will be used in collecting and analyze the data. The study will use descriptive statistics for data analysis and to summary all the data collected. This study prefers quantitative technique because it provides a reliable and valid method to test the significant of the chosen methodology to manage the risk within oil industry with special focus in Libya’s National Oil Corporation. (Tewksbury, 2009).

The study will also collect secondary data from several academic databases which include Science Direct, Sage Publication, Wiley, EBSCOhost and Emerald Insight. The chosen database contains several research articles and journals that would be used to complete the project.

1.6: Dissertation Scope and Limitations

This dissertation will focus on a development of risk management methodology in petroleum industry: A case study of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (LNOC). While the study will explore various methodologies to manage the risks in petroleum industry, however, the dissertation will identify a specific risk management methodology that could be applicable to Libya’s nation Oil Corporation. Although, the research aims to complete this study within 12 months, however, inadequate data on Libya’s National Oil Corporation may impede the timely completion of the project. Moreover, budget constraints may also affect the timely completion of the dissertation.

1.7: Dissertation Structure

The dissertation will be organized in seven chapters and it will be structured in the following format:

Chapter (1) provides the introduction to the project, which will provide the project’s background, research problem, dissertation aims and objective, dissertation scope and limitations, project’s hypothesis and project’s structure.

Chapter (2) will provide the literature review which will explore various past studies related to the project. The review of the literatures will explore various techniques used in the management of risks within the oil industry, and a suitable methodology that could be effective for management of risks within the Libya’s of National Oil Corporation.

Chapter (3) will focus on the research methodology, which will cover method of data collection.

Chapter (4) will provide the data analysis to enhance data integrity and validity.

Chapter (5) will explore the case of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) and the risk management methodology suitable for the company.

Chapter (6) will deliver the research findings and,

Chapter (7) will provide conclusion and recommendations.

8: Dissertation Expected Duration

The dissertation will take approximately 12 months to complete. The bar chart in Fig 1 illustrates the expected duration of the dissertation.

Fig 1: Bar Chart Illustrating Expected Duration of the Dissertation


This study focuses on the methodology to manage the risks within the petroleum industry with special focus on Libya National Oil Corporation. The business operations of oil industry are specially characterized with various risks. More importantly, the LNOC encounters lots of risks in its operations which the company is unable to manage. This project will identify and explore a reliable risk management methodology that would assist the LNOC to manage various risks facing the company.

List of References

Fernandes, L.J. Barbosa-Povoa, A.P. & Relvas, R. (2010). Risk Management Framework for the Petroleum Supply Chain. 20th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering — ESCAPE2

Oracle (2011). How to Reduce Costs and Manage Risk in the Upstream Oil & Gas Industry with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions. An Oracle White Paper.

Energy Information Administration (2012). Libya: Country Analysis Brief. USA.

Nolan, P.A. & Thurber, M.C. (2010).On the State’s Choice of Oil Company: Risk Management and the Frontier of the Petroleum Industry. Working Paper Program #99 on Energy and Sustainable Development.

Tewksbury, R. (2009). Qualitative vs. Quantitative Techniques: Understanding Why Qualitative Methods are Superior for Criminology and Criminal Justice. Journal of Theoretical & Philosophical Criminology: 1 (1).

World Bank (2006). Libyan Arab and Jamahiriya: Economic Report, Social & Economic Development Group: MENA Region.

World Bank (2008). A Citizen’s Guide to National Oil Companies. Parts A and B. The World

Bank Group and Center for Energy Economics, University of Texas at Austin.

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