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Differentiated technological regimes and changing industrial organisation: Theory and evidence from the upstream oil and gas industry


  • Marc Isabelle

    () (CEA & IMRI (Institut pour le Management de la Recherche et de l’Innovation), Université Paris-Dauphine)


The upstream oil and gas industry has experienced two different technological regimes since it became international in the 1920s. Its incentives to innovate remained weak during the first fifty years, whereas from the 1970s onward new technical challenges forced the industry into a technological revolution, further amplified by fierce competitive pressure on hydrocarbon prices since the oil price collapse in 1986. Performing this technological acceleration has entailed deep structural changes in the relationship between international oil and gas companies in terms of an increasing propensity to cooperate, more balanced partnerships and a more selective choice of partners. These empirical results are supported by two complementary theories of inter-firm cooperation: a static one sketched in terms of resources allocation for the technological tranquillity period, and a dynamic one that deals with the creation of resources for the technological revolution period.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Isabelle, 2001. "Differentiated technological regimes and changing industrial organisation: Theory and evidence from the upstream oil and gas industry," Working Papers IMRI 0102, IMRI (Institut pour le Management de la Recherche et de l'Innovation), Université Paris-Dauphine, revised Oct 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:imr:wpaper:wp01_02

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    More about this item


    oil & gas industry; industrial organisation; technological innovation; cooperation;

    JEL classification:

    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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