A Strategic Analysis of Total Plc Using Porter's 5 Forces

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary

1. Introduction

2. Situation Analysis

2.1. The Michael Porter’s study

2.2. Ecosystem and stakeholders

2.3. Competitors

2.4. Social and political parties

3. Conclusion

Appendices 1 – Ecosystem and Total Plc.

Appendices 2 – Stakeholders and Total Plc.

Reference list

Executive Summary

Although major oil companies have been merged and acquired, the ‘war’ has not yet been over. The big integrated players start with several advantages, if they could commit to reinvent themselves. ‘The tough issue for global businesses is determining which elements require global or local planning and management. How can companies strike a balance between the needs of local businesses and the benefits of global scale?’[1] Understanding global business and implementing strategic managements, especially in the oil industry, require a fine balance between the strategies of oil majors and external environments, in accordance with global economies, the economy of scales and impacts of stakeholders.

1. Introduction

Strategic management helps initiate logical points identified by the current conditions and situations of a company and an industry. Through well-designed strategies, Total Plc. can ‘conquer’ Europe and is looking at the Unites States. Total Plc. has its own missions, visions, objectives, strategies and business structures. As a result, implementing strategic structures and evaluating business activities should be performed on a frequent base.

The report will discuss what strategic managements have been implemented at Total Plc. and why it has been considered important to managers. The report also attempts to analyze the key stakeholders for Total Plc. and how they have impacted on the company’s strategies. Using Porter’s and Mintzberg’s strategic managements to assess how these stakeholders have been involved overtime, it will explore the perspectives, strategies, and other alternatives from a cross-functional perspectives by integrating operational and marketing decisions. Likewise, it will use theories to discuss and evaluate strategies in order to argue on determinants of long-tem objectives of companies in oil industry.

2. Situation Analysis

2.1. The Michael Porter’s study

Measurable goals should be in line with the objectives and the scopes of the strategies. In fact, the strategic approaches of oil companies have flown harmoniously with their companies’ missions. The performance review helps these oil companies to fasten the companies’ missions, plans and strategic.

‘In the past, Thierry Desmarest, Total's chairman, has been lukewarm towards takeovers and mergers, noting that Total has one of the fastest growing production profiles in the industry. A tie up with PetroFina would strengthen its European downstream presence, as well as enhance its overall international exploration effort, especially in the North Sea.’ [2]

The management oversight can involve some key leaders of the companies. In fact, if management does not have any active interest, the improvement procedures will not likely to be implemented. ‘The emergence of Total as bidder for PetroFina, one of Belgium's biggest industrial companies, came as a surprise after recent speculation centred on Elf Aquitaine, the other big French oil company.’ [3]

These monopolistic regional coalitions will become a force for merger and consolidation in the oil industry. Porter’s competitive advantages have discussed what has shaped a world-class company, industry, and a country. Nowadays, downsizings, recession, standoff of the Persian Gulf and Britain’s caution toward the European region have intensified the economic advantages.

Using Porter’s classical approach, seeking for profit maximum, Total Plc. looks at its high price competition and maturity. Nowadays, globalization trends make it possible to offset disadvantages. Cost mitigation and profit maximization have created the flows of resources from resources-poor nations to resource-rich nations. Stakeholders[4], such as suppliers, competitors, society, have strongly impacted on this stage.

Indeed, understanding and determining the sophisticated level of a strategic become an essential element to decide which strategic maturity should be applied. Although the shift in the economy can help explain primary opportunities and longer term objectives, a failure to achieve short term, such as a yearly basis objective, can pose problems. Thus, Total Plc. should change its strategy, mission, or objectives, in order to stay competitive in the market.

‘While operators still like to believe their work is opportunity-driven, oil and gas production is shaped by narrow margins, competitive markets, and increasing technical sophistication. This has resulted in more formerly freewheeling producers becoming niche operators that supply particular markets with particular products and hone their expertise in key technologies or specific kinds of reservoirs.’[5] Consequently, Total Plc. should plan and be prepared to avoid the decline stage of the cycle; the company has applied technological substitutes and shift in consumer values, tastes, and beliefs.

While Porter procedure aggressively looks for competitive advantages through positioning the company in the industry, Mintzberg tends to implement the combination of traditional and new approaches as a consequence of past capabilities, knowledge, and market positioning as well as differentiation. The strategy emerges by a compromise between the economic realities of planned schedules and the priorities of the organization. Thus, the assessment of a company in oil industry is usually based on the strategic decisions, which reveals industry characteristics and the current competitive environment.

Recently, the Iraq War and the War on Terror have caused some surges for the energy industry; oil prices have been heavily fluctuated.

‘The surge in oil prices, from $10 a barrel in 1998 to above $50 in early 2005, has prompted talk of a new era of sustained higher prices. Even so, an unusually loud chorus is now joining Messrs O'Reilly and Chavez, pointing to intriguing evidence of a new "price floor" of $30 or perhaps even $40[6]

The lack of foreseeing the involvement of environment and infrastructure has demanded the needs of strategic management practicing. Executive managements often decide to have proactive approaches, but there are a great number of interrelated challenges for management to solve in order to improve the companies’ infrastructure.

‘Noting that our "perverse obsession" with hierarchy is very human, Mintzberg nevertheless feels that managers should be able to rise above this.’ [7] Since companies are probably to pursue innovative and creative products, strategies have been implemented by new technologies can be a sign of future success in the new market. Thus, commitment available resources to different strategies can help evaluate and measure the strategic performance as well.

‘In recent deals such as British Petroleum (BP) and Amoco, Total and Petrofina, Exxon and Mobil, and currently BP/Amoco and ARCO, the stated goal has had a familiar refrain: to increase profits by dramatically cutting costs, reducing inefficiencies, and expanding geographically.’[8]

The suppliers have impacted on the overall industry and Total Plc as well. Some oversupplies are derived from flattening demand in mature markets and economic difficulties in many emerging markets.

2.2. Ecosystem [9] and stakeholders

There has been a board-level group devoted to health, safety and the environment at oil companies since the early 1990’s. Potential environmental hazards could do long-term damage to oil companies’ image. This includes tracking issues ranging from headline grabbing ones, such as oil spills, to local but insidious problems, such as leakage from tanks on the forecourts of petrol stations.

‘Total is investing a lot into the issue of greenhouse gases. We release a lot of CO2, and on the upstream side, we are obviously working on that. We do believe that if we want to be a major actor on heavy oil, we have to have a solution for the greenhouse effect.’ [10]

Oil companies have tried to create more environmentally sensitive sources of energy. They have established steps in their strategies to enhance competitiveness and develop a strong trademark in anticipation of the world environmental images. Business has treated the reduction of carbon emissions and the development of energy policies as a technical issue, such as greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, overall business strategies for oil companies are considered as an integral part of new cultures and territories. Oil companies are aware of the relationship between socially responsible investment and their ‘green’ image, linked to their positive impacts on societies where they operate.

2.3. Competitors

The energy industry has experienced the tumultuous era domestically and internationally. The ideals are not for redesigning the firm’s structures but to achieve the key performance objectives.

Managers have tried to improve effectiveness in oil industry. Proper measuring and understanding variables in the industry will result in the environment involvement in any strategic plans. In fact, the growth of strategic management usually lags behind other capabilities in a company.

‘Is our current size any impediment to the way we are perceived, and does our size prevent us from making big deals in areas where we want to make big deals?' asked Ladislas Paszkiewicz, vice president for investor relations, in a recent conversation. Very clearly, no. There is no big deal we're prevented from doing because we're not big enough.’ [11]

It is so beneficial to keep the strategic managements with other for other corporate progresses. Advancing strategic management practices will help the corporate procedures avoid from mistrust, turmoil and ahead of the competition game in the market.

The strategic-management process is continuous and dynamic as well. As a result, any sudden alternatives in one of the major components in the framework can require a change in long-term plans. Strategy formulation, evaluations, facilitation and implementation will never really end.

‘Total is now the world's fourth-largest oil and petrochemicals group by revenues. Total faces several hurdles. Some analysts say that by uniting Total and Elf, both strong in Africa, the combined company relies too heavily on West African oil fields in the near term. Moreover, Total's refining and retailing businesses, like gas stations, are mainly in Europe, a saturated, hard-fought market where margins are slim.’ [12]

Large oil consuming nations, such as China, and the United States, should cultivate a common understanding in society on the changing aspects of global economy. Politics, wars, and economic setbacks for several years have impacted on the oil industry with the inescapable conclusion that one has to deal with the ramifications of issues before initiating the development of a new oil sector.

2.4. Social and political parties

In order to combat government to increase offshore activities, the oil industry has considered a new light and proved to be less flattering than the common view of any industry.

‘Total's planned investments in Iran - which included the $2bn South Pars offshore gas contract signed in 1997 - sparked a transatlantic row between the European Union and the US, which after the passage of the controversial Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (Ilsa) threatened to apply unilateral sanctions against the company.’[13]

Politics has ceded to economics and confronted to cooperation at the new realism of oil producers and consumers. However, oil and politics are still a potentially combustible mixture. The fact that the British and U.S. governments have been involved with the Iraq War has proved how oil industry can be intertwined with political concerns.

OPEC might no longer be the bogey man with the West once so feared. Oil always, as essential, becomes the most politicized community in the world. There will undoubtedly be some future oil shocks, although it is difficult to known the time and directions which these oil shocks will come.[14]

Furthermore, control of some elements of the business should be localized to permit prompt responses to changes in market conditions. In oil business, the keys to the future and to innovate are drawn upon the ideas and capabilities of the external environment, especially when the oil industry has excess capacity and lack of resources.

3. Conclusion

This report addresses issues pertaining to the strategy management to achieve long term objectives. Provided consistent measurement and consequences, the result will help Total Plc. improve and strategize in advance. As a result, the check-up procedures have been utilized to evaluate the process and establish the next logical step in the strategic plans. Although assessments can help strategic managers stay in this complex strategic management world, planning and proper techniques help managers prepare for the future of their organizations.

Appendices 1 – Ecosystem and Total Plc.

Appendices 2 – Stakeholders and Total Plc.

Reference list

‘Gaining Entrée’ 1991, Oil & Gas Investor. Denver, October, vol. 11, no. 3; p. 48.

‘Survey: Oil in troubled waters’, 2005, The Economist.London, vol. 375,no. 8424;Apr 30, p.4, viewed March 24, 2007 http://www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=3884623

'Brain Power' 2006, Oil & Gas Investor.Denver, January, p.10

Brown, M. 1991, ‘Oil in Troubled Waters’, Management Today.London, p.38

Buckley, N, Corzine, R & Owen, D 1998, ‘Total set to bid for petrofina french oil group expected to announce the takeover of belgian rival with offer valuing it at L7BN’, Financial Times.London (UK), 1 December,p.1.

Corzine, R 1999, ‘ Eagle eyes deny rapacious bent: Bold entry into war-torn Gulf countries gave Total a head start on US rivals’, Financial Times.London (UK), 15 April,.p.6

Nelson, E. & Lentz, N. 1999, ‘Is bigger oil better oil? [5 Edition]’, Journal of Commerce.New York,p.5.A. Reviewed March 24, 2007 from http://www.teamboston.com/599sun1.htm

Reimann, BC 1993, ‘Conference reports - Part 2: Managers of transformation’, Planning Review, vol. 21, no. 3, May-June, p. 42

Simpson, D. 1995, ‘Planning in a global business’, Planning Review.Dayton, vol. 23, no. 2, March -April, p.25.

Tagliabue, J 2003. ‘An Oil Titan's Next Challenge’, New York Times.(Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, 31 October, p.W.1

Page 1


Footnotes

[1] Simpson, D. 1995, ‘Planning in a global business’, Planning Review.Dayton, vol. 23, no. 2, March -April, p.25.

[2] Buckley, N, Corzine, R & Owen, D 1998, ‘Total set to bid for petrofina french oil group expected to announce the takeover of belgian rival with offer valuing it at L7BN’, Financial Times.London (UK), 1 December,p.1.

[3] Buckley, Corzine, & Owen 1998

[4] Appendices 2 – Stakeholders and Total Plc.

[5] ‘Gaining Entrée’ 1991, Oil & Gas Investor. Denver, October, vol. 11, no. 3; p. 48.

[6] ‘Survey: Oil in troubled waters’, 2005, The Economist.London, vol. 375,no. 8424;Apr 30, p.4, viewed March 24, 2007 http://www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=3884623

[7] Reimann, BC 1993, ‘Conference reports - Part 2: Managers of transformation’, Planning Review, vol. 21, no. 3, May-June, p. 42

[8] Nelson, E. & Lentz, N. 1999, ‘Is bigger oil better oil? [5 Edition]’, Journal of Commerce.New York,p.5.A. Reviewed March 24, 2007 from http://www.teamboston.com/599sun1.htm

[9] Appendices 1 – Ecosystem

[10] 'Brain Power' 2006, Oil & Gas Investor.Denver, January, p.10

[11] Tagliabue, J 2003. ‘An Oil Titan's Next Challenge’, New York Times.(Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, 31 October, p.W.1

[12] Tagliabue 2003

[13] Corzine, R 1999, ‘ Eagle eyes deny rapacious bent: Bold entry into war-torn Gulf countries gave Total a head start on US rivals’, Financial Times.London (UK), 15 April,.p.6

[14] Brown, M. 1991, ‘Oil in Troubled Waters’, Management Today.London, p.38

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