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Accepted Paper:

Navigating uncertainties: the risk management of Tullow Oil  
Annika Witte (GIZ)

Paper short abstract:

This paper deals with the anticipatory knowledge of the oil company Tullow Oil Uganda. It focuses on Tullow’s risk management as a reflection of core elements of the company’s culture.

Paper long abstract:

This paper deals with the anticipatory knowledge of an oil company by focusing on its' risk management. Risks are modes of anticipating the future and managing its uncertainties. Oil companies navigate geographical and temporal landscapes filled with uncertainties: the unpredictability of the geological formations, of host governments, of host communities or of the oil price on the international market. To anticipate and manage these uncertainties, the oil companies use risk management tools.

The paper analyses the risk assessment and management of Tullow Oil Uganda. The risk management reflects values held by the company and hence core elements of the company's culture. A major element of Tullow's culture is its safety regime, which is informed by past experiences across the oil industry and calculations of future possibilities. The dominance and display of safety measures within Tullow is meant to handle the risks of accidents, future litigation, image damage and most importantly loss of shareholder value. The paper shows the many ways Tullow tries to create an image of a responsible company. The paper also considers how the risk management is reflected in the company's interaction with Ugandans. To manage the risk of disgruntled hosts, Tullow Oil tries a three-pronged strategy of managing, i.e. lowering expectations, doing "social investment" and helping Ugandan companies enter the oil industry through national content initiatives. The paper is based on an analysis of publications from Tullow Oil and 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Uganda between 2012 and 2015.

Panel P110
Anticipatory knowledge: prognostics and prophecy in management and governance
  Session 1