Empirical methods for comparing governance structure
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In the Gulf of Mexico offshore exploration and production (E&P) industry, oil company decision-makers desire to drill wells for exploration or development purposes. While a number of organizational arrangements are employed by firms in the E&P industry, most drilling arrangements can be categorized as one of two types of organizational structure based upon the allocation of planning and supervision responsibilities. Companies can employ internal drilling organizations (best-efforts) to plan and manage their drilling operations or choose to contract externally (turnkey) for these activities. The decision made by the exploration and production company as to which organizational form to employ can have significant impacts on the efficiency and profitability of any given well or drilling campaign. This research examines this choice of governance structure. This paper will examine the drivers of this decision using the theory of transaction cost economics. Regression models are specified and estimated for the turnkey drilling decision, and for the underlying cost functions of best-efforts and turnkey drilling. Results provide support for the transaction cost hypothesis as significant in the choice of governance.