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Cartel Consciousness and Horizontal Integration in Energy Industry

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Abstract:

Since the 1980s, energy market restructuring has increasingly privatized market risk to a point where it is now difficult to synchronize the long-term horizon of energy production with the short-term fluctuations of energy price. This shift from regulation to competition has intensified the special character of interrelated values of oil and natural gas. The hierarchy of meanings, for example, in developing new supply sources has been reversed. Prior to market liberalization the political community established a framework of incentives for corporate decision making. Today, fluctuations in market price establish the risks by which industry seeks political concession.

This reversal has resulted in a complex of reflections and practices for representing values as well as the rise of new social orders seeking to provide what I call horizontal integration. These orders serve not only as political economic arrangements but also as style-setters for the production of shared meaning. Elsewhere, for example, I identify techniques that Cambridge Energy Research Associates adopts to redress the uncertainties of their clients: through scenario planning and executive roundtable meetings Cambridge Energy objectifies risks and operations of the industry in ways that tend to generate undisputed knowledge. They integrate technical prediction with fashionable modes of communication to create socially amenable and also to some extent ritualized occasions that underline the knowledge (predictions and solutions) that are being fashioned.

In this paper, I highlight examples of media representation (brochures, advertisements) at Energy Consultant executive meetings where participants become witness to a detailed interplay of images about global energy development. I argue that these images establish a relation between Consultant Energy’s intended audience, energy executives, and those defined as outside it, typically government and energy consumers. This relation serves as an techno-economic guide for executives in navigating key shifts in the legitimacy of their elite rule.

The work links the methodological insights developed by Collins and Evans (2002) for studying the upstream activities of a core-set of experts to the relationship between theory and realities, Callon (1998b, 2007) and MacKenzie (2006a, 2006b) have employed in the idea of performativity to identify the various styles of operating that accept abstractions as part of the forces that influence science or market evolution and indeed authorize some particular future that is desired. The proposed investigation aims to transfer from the study of economic and financial transactions in general to understanding the specific activities of consultant forecasters working within the energy industries.
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Association:
Name: 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions
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http://www.4sonline.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p421825_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Mason, Arthur. "Cartel Consciousness and Horizontal Integration in Energy Industry" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions, Komaba I Campus, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, Aug 25, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p421825_index.html>

APA Citation:

Mason, A. , 2010-08-25 "Cartel Consciousness and Horizontal Integration in Energy Industry" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions, Komaba I Campus, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p421825_index.html

Publication Type: Paper Abstract
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Since the 1980s, energy market restructuring has increasingly privatized market risk to a point where it is now difficult to synchronize the long-term horizon of energy production with the short-term fluctuations of energy price. This shift from regulation to competition has intensified the special character of interrelated values of oil and natural gas. The hierarchy of meanings, for example, in developing new supply sources has been reversed. Prior to market liberalization the political community established a framework of incentives for corporate decision making. Today, fluctuations in market price establish the risks by which industry seeks political concession.

This reversal has resulted in a complex of reflections and practices for representing values as well as the rise of new social orders seeking to provide what I call horizontal integration. These orders serve not only as political economic arrangements but also as style-setters for the production of shared meaning. Elsewhere, for example, I identify techniques that Cambridge Energy Research Associates adopts to redress the uncertainties of their clients: through scenario planning and executive roundtable meetings Cambridge Energy objectifies risks and operations of the industry in ways that tend to generate undisputed knowledge. They integrate technical prediction with fashionable modes of communication to create socially amenable and also to some extent ritualized occasions that underline the knowledge (predictions and solutions) that are being fashioned.

In this paper, I highlight examples of media representation (brochures, advertisements) at Energy Consultant executive meetings where participants become witness to a detailed interplay of images about global energy development. I argue that these images establish a relation between Consultant Energy’s intended audience, energy executives, and those defined as outside it, typically government and energy consumers. This relation serves as an techno-economic guide for executives in navigating key shifts in the legitimacy of their elite rule.

The work links the methodological insights developed by Collins and Evans (2002) for studying the upstream activities of a core-set of experts to the relationship between theory and realities, Callon (1998b, 2007) and MacKenzie (2006a, 2006b) have employed in the idea of performativity to identify the various styles of operating that accept abstractions as part of the forces that influence science or market evolution and indeed authorize some particular future that is desired. The proposed investigation aims to transfer from the study of economic and financial transactions in general to understanding the specific activities of consultant forecasters working within the energy industries.


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