8.8. The Oil Producers' Microworld

The oil producers' microworld is a gaming simulator that was developed as an extension of the project with Royal Dutch/Shell.[] The opening screen is shown in Figure 8.27. The microworld contains the oil producers' model complete with all its feedback loops and equation formulations except for one change in the independents' sector. Capex investment policy is opened up so that game players can take the role of top management responsible for upstream investment in commercial oil companies such as Shell, ExxonMobil and BP Amoco. In this role, players experience the difficulties of managing long-term investment in an uncertain and volatile industry against the backdrop of the economic, technical and political forces that shape supply and demand in global oil markets. The objective, over a 25-year period, is to maximise cumulative net income (profit) by making yearly upstream investment decisions. Players compete against OPEC and may face changes in industry demand as well as production squeezes and gluts.

[] There were four phases in the life of the oil producers' project. The first phase was model development, which happened in the period 1988–1989 as an input to Shell's 1989 scenario round (Shell Group Planning, 1989). This work took place under the guidance of Kees van der Heijden who was then head of the scenario team at Shell International, London, within a department known (at the time) as Group Planning. Model conceptualisation was led by ...

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