Line of Business: 


The current market environment represents both a challenge and an opportunity for oil and gas industry players. It may, of course, mean the shutdown or divestiture of production assets which can change the segment or geographic make-up of the organization. Acquisitions, however, may still be relevant in a low oil price environment, as target equity prices are depressed alongside the buyer’s share price. Whatever actions are considered and executed to realign portfolios and cost structures, outbreak patterns, as well as social distancing and employee safety protocols together will have an operational impact not incorporated into prior cycles. “On our offshore platforms, in our refineries, at our lubes and chemical plants and throughout our facilities worldwide, our people are getting the job done while protecting themselves and others,” said Darren Woods, ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO (EnergyFactor).

Looking at the example of M&A, virtual deal teams are nothing new, and the industry is used to virtual data rooms, video conferencing and Docusign closings. Even in as large a transaction as the Shell acquisition of BG during the last downturn, a small execution team is possible and may even be preferable. Indeed, according to an interview with Gerald Paulides on Shell’s acquisition of BG in McKinsey, “A company doing sizable, world-scale M&A should have a core deal team of about ten people (. . .) it’s about having the best people available for an intense activity over a prolonged period. If you have five external team members available, principals from the bankers, the lawyers, the strategic advisers, then you have a good team—but you need to handpick them.”

“On our offshore platforms, in our refineries, at our lubes and chemical plants and throughout our facilities worldwide, our people are getting the job done while protecting themselves and others.”

– Darren Woods, ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO (EnergyFactor).

Best practices point to a similar commitment and focus when realizing on the expected value of the closed deal. Again, McKinsey outline success criteria in a post-merger scenario but the advice is broadly applicable to any organizational transformation, stating that in order to succeed, “a designated team must be provided with all necessary data and resources and be left to build the new portfolio and organization. To ensure talent retention, communicate early, clearly, and convincingly to the people you want to keep, and ‘walk the talk’ by openly appointing leaders from both companies to New Co. positions.”

Setting aside access to confidential HR data, subject to outlined regulatory timelines for M&A transactions, even with all of the data legally accessible how can a global, multi-disciplinary team gather, ingest, visualize, consume and act efficiently and collaboratively while meeting these goals?

In practice, both internal team members and external consultants are tasked with delivering new organizational structures as one of the means of realizing cost, capital, and revenue synergy goals. Modelling the synergy scenarios means capturing the relevant data from secure HR solutions and other sources, controlling access and working with current, dynamic rather than outdated, stale data to effectively execute.

Those of us who have worked with proprietary or built home-grown models in Excel can attest to how much manual labor is required for inputting large data sets, graphing and presented the insights in slides. Moreover, it is an inefficient means of gathering and visualizing data. There is a limit to how much scenario analysis can be anticipated and actioned from static sources ahead of a decision-maker meeting—sometimes a stakeholder wants to see a what-if scenario play out in real time during the presentation. Responding on the spot decreases time-to-value, and decreases the time and effort in the across the entire process. This is critical under a cost control focus.

While a rebalancing of supply/demand and rising prices can improve financial metrics the core deliverable of redesigning the organization remains and implementing a replicable and efficient methodology and solution is of benefit at $25 oil or $100 oil.

The power of visualization is always clear when working with our enterprise clients. Seeing different scenarios dynamically presented and then tested unlocks immediate insights. Applying a filter assumption or scenario and seeing it unfold on a global geographic employee map and then comparing it with COVID-19 patterns and responses in the affected regions can empower decision-makers while taking into account safety and operational risk considerations. Furthermore, for all stakeholders to be able to access a single source of organizational truth in a purpose-built, secure, and cloud-based collaboration solution allows the team to accelerate value delivery while managing potentially new remote work mandates.For more information, please email us directly at [email protected].

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