The Petroleum Sector Value Chain

32 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2009

See all articles by Christian O. H. Wolf

Christian O. H. Wolf

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

Date Written: June 30, 2009


The oil and gas industry encompasses a range of different activities and processes, which jointly contribute to the transformation of underlying petroleum resources into useable end-products valued by industrial and private customers. These different activities are inherently linked with each other (conceptually, contractually and/or physically), and these linkages might occur within or across individual firms, and within or across national boundaries.

This paper briefly describes the key constituent activities of the petroleum sector, as well as the scope for horizontal and vertical integration. It does so based on the notion of an industry value chain (or value system). It also discusses some of the key policy decisions associated with the different stages of the value chain. Overall, this paper seeks to introduce key activities, value drivers and risk factors of the petroleum industry.

This is a draft version of Chapter 1 of the Study on “National Oil Companies and Value Creation”, undertaken by the Oil, Gas and Mining Policy Division of the World Bank. This draft version has been published to inform the public on progress and invite dialogue. A revised version of this paper will be included in the Study which is expected to be completed by June 2010.

The paper was written by Christian O. H. Wolf (Consultant), with contributions from the Task Leader of the Study, Silvana Tordo (Lead Energy Economist, Oil, Gas and Mining Division of the World Bank).

Keywords: Petroleum, oil and gas, value chain analysis, national oil company, petroleum policy

JEL Classification: G38, L22, L71, Q49

Suggested Citation

Wolf, Christian O. H., The Petroleum Sector Value Chain (June 30, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Christian O. H. Wolf (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom


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