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How international oil and gas companies respond to local content policies in petroleum-producing developing countries: a narrative enquiry

Ngoasong, M

Energy Policy   73 471–479

DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2014.05.048

October 2014

This paper uses narrative analysis to critically examine the business practices used by five international oil and gas companies (IOCs) (Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Total) to respond to local content policies in petroleum-producing developing countries (Nigeria, Angola, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Indonesia, Yemen and Indonesia) during the period 2000–2012. The business practices include the formulation of local content strategies that are implemented through programmes and initiatives aimed at developing and using host country suppliers and workforce. Such practices and the narratives used to communicate them implicitly reflect the context in which the effectiveness of local content policies on economic development can be assessed. By comparing and contrasting the narratives across the five IOCs in relation to the wider literature, four emergent narrative strategies justifying the business practices of IOCs are identified and discussed. They include: (1) direct engagement to renegotiate local content requirements with governments, (2) legal compliance framework, (3) the business case for local content strategies, and (4) corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The conclusion considers the policy implications of these findings for local content development in petroleum-producing developing countries.