Generally speaking, the paper "Woodside Petroleum’ s Environmental Responsibility Record" is a good example of a business case study. Regardless of the size of the company, the dilemma between shareholder interest and social responsibility is one of the most common problems faced by business managers. Every day, companies have to decide whether to advance the profit-making agenda and increase shareholder value or do business in a manner that fulfills the needs of the society. Shareholder value is one of the most important aspects of business, and every company must be profitable to its owners to continue to survive.
This is especially difficult in today’ s competitive global business landscape. In order to toe the line, most of the time businesses are tempted to push the limits, disregarding their responsibility to society in the search for profits. Finding the right balance between profits and social responsibility is perhaps the most difficult aspect of management. An example of a company that has had to re-evaluate its priorities as a result of this is Woodside Petroleum. 2014 marked the 60th anniversary of Woodside Petroleum, an Australian oil company whose name came from the small southern town of Woodside.
Over the 60 years, the company has had 30 years of domestic gas production, as well as 25 years of LNG exports. After Australia’ s first oil discovery, Woodside was incorporated a year later in 1954, with the initial share issues being oversubscribed by more than half a million Australian dollars. Although the initial years were not particularly successful, after 10 years the company got exploration rights in 1963 and since then have had several years of success in the industry.
Some of the company’ s milestones include discoveries of gas and condensate at Scott Reef and across the North West Shelf. The case against Woodside Petroleum In order to understand the issues that have faced Woodside Petroleum, it is important to understand the context within which companies, especially in the mining sector, operate in the modern business environment. Although the mining sector is traditionally characterized by volatility and geopolitical turmoil, one of the consistent trends in the industry is the fact that the regulatory and compliance landscape is constantly changing. Companies now have to conduct business with tighter environmental and social regulations, both nationally and internationally.
Secondly, the past few years have seen companies go to excesses driven by the push to increase returns and maintain market leadership. These trends have resulted in crises that have had long and costly implications, to the company, the industry, and society. As a result of this, society has placed higher standards for companies in terms of ethics and social responsibility. Stakeholders all around the globe have become increasingly vocal in their demands for industry players, not only in terms of the basic compliance with rules but also in terms of responsibility to aspects like the environment and the society. Perhaps the most controversial environmental issue that has faced Woodside Petroleum is a 45 billion dollar browse project.
The Browse project, initially planned to be an onshore LNG plant had to be canceled by Woodside citing the project to be economically, socially, technically, and environmentally risky. At the time, major oil and gas companies had invested over a hundred billion dollars in plants on Australia, and Australia was on its way to becoming the largest gas exportation company in the world.
However, investor interest in the sector began to cool down in the face of rising costs and competition.
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