With 70% of global reserves, National Oil Companies (NOCs) dominate the production of oil and gas globally, and represent a significant share of the 90 ‘carbon majors’ which are collectively responsible two-thirds of carbon dioxide emitted since the 1750s. However, NOCs are a very heterogeneous group, and their operations vary significantly between countries. Some NOCs operate under models like privately owned competitors with little government oversight, while others may be directed to undertake less commercial activities with the aim of promoting specific government objectives. A sub-set of SOEs provide governments with a significant portion of their revenues (e.g. Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia) and support efforts to attract private investment for fossil fuel production (e.g. YPF in Argentina). Some SOEs are mandated with insulating domestic consumers from volatile energy prices (e.g. Petrobras in Brazil), while others try to secure the country’s fossil fuel supply by investing heavily abroad (e.g. CIL in India). Despite their dominant role across the industry, there has been limited analysis and into the governance of NOCs, and their potential role in the transition to low-carbon energy.

This session will aim to serve as a catalyst for those who are thinking of undertaking research on the comparative advantage of NOCs in managing the transition away from fossil fuel production.