Journal of Service Science and Management, 2011, 4, 203-214
doi:10.4236/jssm.2011.42024 Published Online June 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
Implementation of Agility Concepts into Oil
Ibrahim Hassan Garbie
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman.
Received January 12th, 2011; revised March 2nd, 2011; accepted March 27th, 2011.
Petroleum companies have great interest in developing their countries through improving their resources to be more
competitive. They are also trying to maintain a high level of responsiveness to achieve agility and to remain competitive
in the global marketplace especia lly after instability of oil prices and global financial crisis. Agile systems (AS) is con-
sidered as the next industrial revolution. Agile systems are considered as production and/or management philosophies
that integrate the available technology, people, production strategies and organization management systems. Although
agility is the set of capab ilities and comp etences that the petroleum compa nies need to thrive and prosper in a continu-
ously changing and unpredictable business environment, measuring the level of agility in these comp anies is still unex-
plored according to the capabilities and competences. There are limited number of scientific papers have mentioned
agility measurements in ind ustrial organizations as a general concept and in oil industry as a specific concern. In th is
paper, a conceptual model will be proposed to measure the agility level of the petroleum companies based on existing
technologies, level of qualifying human resources, production strategies, and organization management systems. Sev-
eral case studies will be presented to demonstrate the proposed issues and technique through an agility questionnaire
which is used for assessing the agility level of these companies. These studies provide the readers with an insight into
the companies and their agility levels.
Keywords: Agility Measurements, Petroleum Companies, Oil Industry
1. Introduction
Oil industry has undergone many evolutionary stages and
paradigm shifts in going from a low production (accord-
ing to demand and the production itself) to mass produc-
tion (due to increasing in market demands and/or to in-
crease revenue); then to lean production (to decrease
and/or control oil prices), to recommended next stage
(agile oil production). Business are restructuring and
reengineering themselves in response to the challenges
and demands of the twenty-first century [1]. The petro-
leum companies of the twenty first century will have to
overcome the challenges of demanding customers who
will seek crude oil quantity with stable oil prices. Petro-
leum companies competing primarily based on explora-
tion and production zones although oil prices actually
competed in the global marketplace. The oil consumption
is growing day after day. The average local and interna-
tional consumption of oil grew by high percentage com-
paring with past consumption.
Agility in petroleum companies is considered as a new
oil industry revolution which it addresses new ways of
running petroleum companies to meet these challenges.
Agile system (AS) in oil industry is defined as the capa-
bility of surviving and prospering in a competitive envi-
ronment of continuous and unpredictable change by re-
acting quickly and effectively to changing oil fields pro-
duction driven by markets demand and instability in oil
prices. The AS is also considered as a new expression
that is used to represent the ability of a petroleum com-
pany to survive and thrive in the face of continuous
change. These changes can occur in exploration areas,
drilling a well, production strategies, and technology
used. Agility in oil industry is neither mass production
strategy nor lean production strategy. Nowadays these
strategies are not really considered new although they
have been available for previous several decades and it
should follow a new strategy so called “Agile oil indus-
The level of requirements for remaining competitive in
business with respect to petroleum companies keeps get-
Implementation of Agility Concepts into Oil Industry
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
ting higher. There seems to be no end in sight. Now,
however, petroleum companies must be able to rapidly
develop and produce crude oil to meet customer needs
and keep the oil prices stable. These companies are
global firms. To explore and produce more oil, several
companies are working in the country (e.g., Oman, KSA,
etc.). There are technical petroleum services in each
country to widen consultancy services. The requirements
for economies of scale, based on global marketplace of
robust demand, are coming into direct conflict with the
requirements for economic growth and oil demand. In the
past, economies of scale regarding oil production ruled
the oil industry and everybody knew that heavy produc-
tion and full utilization of wells capacity was the way to
make money. This style of oil production resulted in
fixed wells that could not be easily changed and config-
ured. That is, maintaining continuous new technology in
exploration, drilling and production while utilizing peo-
ple and equipment to cost-effectively exploratory a heavy
crude oil. While some developing countries such as
China, India and Brazil need fuel to feed their growing
economics, members of the organization of petroleum
countries (OPEC) says higher prices are not in the
group’s interest and threaten recovery although oil prices
may hit $100 in 2011 on demand from BRIC nations
(Brazil, Russia, India and China) although the global
economy’s sluggishness will persist into 2011. The
health of global oil demand is extremely robust and that
is something expecting to continue into next years.
Agile system does not represent a series of techniques
much as it represents a fundamental change in production
and/or management philosophies [1]. It is not about small
scale improvements but an entirely different way of do-
ing business with a primary emphasis flexibility and
quick response to the changing markets. However, there
is a need for a systemic approach to evaluate and study
agility in oil industry. Such as, British petroleum (BP)
company has already moved for fast evolution after Gulf
Mexico crisis to shake up the organization. They have
announced plans to reorganize (reconfigure) the com-
pany’s critical exploration and production business and
to establish a global safety division with broad auditing
and rule setting powers. The BP Company is going to
make sure it is among the best in the world at managing
risk going forward.
In order to update the level of petroleum companies
for competition or oil industry modernization programs,
this new concept “agility” should be introduced into
these companies. Evaluation of petroleum companies for
agility is still the most important issue for the next pe-
riod, and it will be highly considered. Th is will lead to a
great change in the traditional company. There will be
changes in production strategies such that company will
quickly respond to customer demand with a reasonable
price. There will be other changes in some areas such as
the following: production support, production planning
and control, quality assurance, maintenance, marketing,
engineering, human resources, finance, and accounting.
These changes will cause a revolution in the petroleum
companies such that “agility” is based on compressing
the time of production.
This paper focuses on the evaluation of petroleum
companies for oil industry modernization considering
agility concepts and it is organized into several sections.
Section 1 presents the background of agile concepts in
petroleum companies. Section 2 reviews previous studies
related to measuring agility as a general concept. Analy-
sis of petroleum companies regarding agility issues is
proposed in Section 3. Section 4 introduces the proposed
measurement methodology of agility. In Section 5, case
studies are illustrated. Finally, the conclusion and rec-
ommendation for future work is given in Section 6.
2. Literature Review
How can the agility of a petroleum company be analyzed
and measured? There have been comparatively few stud-
ies in this field. An application of agile manufacturing
was investigated in an aerospace company [1]. Data was
collected by using questionnaire for assessing its current
level of performance with respect to four key elements of
agility; enriching the customer, co-operating to enhance
competitiveness, mastering change and uncertainty and
leverage people and information. A number of capabili-
ties and competencies for agility represented by a few
questions in each area are proposed by Khashsima [2]
while an agility index was presented using linguistic
variables (worst, very poor, poor, fair, good, very good,
and best) for describing the agile-enable attributes [3].
The four principles of agility (cooperating resources,
customer enrichment, relentless change, and leveraging
the impact of people and information) are introduced
using the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) to measure
cost as a performance measure in manufacturing firms
[4]. The fuzzy IF-THEN rules are used as conditional
statements to estimate the agility index depe nding on the
information, people, and marketing infrastructures [5].
Investigation o f the concept of ag ility and how to analyze
production systems around the four principles of agility
are discussed in [6] although they did not present any
type of agility measures. A measurement framework to
analyze measures of structural properties of the enter-
prise system was presented by [7,8]. They considered
some flexibility measures and complexity measures as
the agility measures. Agility capabilities are classified
into four major categories: responsiveness, competency,
flexibility, and quickness [9-11]. Each category contains
Implementation of Agility Concepts into Oil Industry
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
a few questions and the authors suggested the estimation
value of agility should be the mean for all questions.
They did not use a numerical example or case study to
illustrate their approach. Product flexibility can be con-
sidered as the agility measure [12].
A novel model to measure agility level of the manu-
facturing firms based on existing technologies, level of
qualifying people, manufacturing strategies, and man-
agement systems and the business process was presented
[13]. A suggested analysis for evaluation of industrial
enterprises based on new performance criteria complex-
ity and agility was introduced by Garbie [14]. A frame-
work for research and development of agile manufactur-
ing system by describing the issues related with agility
was discussed [15,16]. The adoption of key strategies,
usage of technology organizational issues and human
resource development factors were identified as enablers
of agility. The phase o f management by concentrating on
team-based work (team attributes) necessary to facilitate
agile manufacturing by the help of framework to balance
the work system was highlighted by Yauch [17]. An agil-
ity index was measured by an approximate reasoning
analogous method taking into account the knowledge
included in fuzzy IF-THEN rules [18]. The methodology
was based on group of quantitative metrics which uses
operational characteristics such as changeover time,
product variety, and number of manufacturing routes by
focusing on four infrastructures to formulate mathemati-
cal model. These were production infrastructure, market
infrastructure, people and information infrastructure. A
comprehensive questionnaire was presented for monitor-
ing various ag ility factors.
An empirical research was performed for analyzing
agility in four production plants belonging to multina-
tional companies in Spain: Opel, 3M, John Deere and
Airbus [19]. A comparison between firms based on their
general characteristic was made by reviewing their pro-
duction system (i.e. types of production processes volume
and type of products and layout), business environment
(i.e. high or medium, level of diversity), organizational
structure (functional or customer oriented), and their
manufacturing objectives for competitiveness such as,
quality, cost delivery and innovation. A framework con-
sists of strategic and tactical assessment structures was
presented for evaluation of agil e workforce based on cross
training and their coordination [20]. The literature avail-
able on agile manufacturing system and proposed a classi-
fication scheme to identify the major areas needed for
agility was reviewed [21]. Nine major areas were identi-
fied; product and manufacturing system design, process
planning, production planning scheduling and control,
information systems, material handling storage systems,
supply chain, hum an factors and busi ness pract i ces.
A conceptual framework was proposed for explaining
the design, structure, implementation and alignment of
supply chain agility based on two elements, product in-
formation and behavior/relationship of supply chain [22].
The literature review was studied dealing with the crite-
ria for agile manufacturing (AM) system by Ramesh
[23]. The meaning and definitions of AM were identified
in form of management criteria and technology criteria.
A research work reported in literature on agile manufac-
turing (AM) and highlighted the phase of information
technology was explored (i.e. computer aided designing
CAD, computer aided manufacturing CAM, rapid proto-
typing RP) as ag ile characteristic [24]. The possibility of
applying finite element analysis (FEA) and CAD/CAM
concepts in organization was examined to acquire char-
acteristics of AM was examined [25]. For this purpose
the component of electronic switch manufacturing com-
pany was chosen as the candidate of research. A theoreti-
cal analysis was performed for reviewing the concepts of
flexibility, agility and responsiveness in operations man-
agement literature to clarify the difference between th ese
terms [26]. On the basis of literature review, they con sid-
ered that the term ‘flexibility’ is most commonly associ-
ated with inherent property of systems which allows
them to change within pre-established parameters, while
the term “agility” described as an approach to organize
the production system that allows for fast reconfiguration
in the face of unforeseeable changes and that requires
resources that are beyond the reach of a single company.
The term “responsiveness” was characterized by ac-
tion/outcome or behavior of a business that involves de-
cisions about how much and when to utilize competen-
cies and capabilities to accommodate stimuli.
An empirical study was conducted to id entify the rela-
tionship and differences between models of competitive
manufacturing and business performance outcomes [27].
Three models of competitive manufacturing; flexible,
lean and agile were analyzed for attaining competitive
objectives such as cost, quality, speed, custom produc-
tion, volume flexibility and leadership. The exploitation
of 20 criteria agile model was suggested to quantify and
analyze the level of agility of prevailing companies [28].
This model was adopted from literature and was pro-
posed after refinement. An empirical research was pre-
sented to investigate results of profile of agile companies
and the practical tools adopted by the companies to
achieve agility by Bottani [29]. A questionnaire was de-
signed to explore agility drivers by surveying more than
180 companies, abou t 65% of which were small and me-
dium enterprises related with different fields (i.e. plant
manufacturing, health care, food industries, utilities and
commercial firms). The result suggested the employee
role and response to unpredictable change as the main
Implementation of Agility Concepts into Oil Industry
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
characteristics of agile companies.
Analysis and measuring the agility level in petroleum
companies is considered as a new evaluation and is still
an ill-structured pr oblem , and until now, the con cepts of
agility level is still unclear and unknown not only in most
petroleum companies but also in almost all oil industry.
The contribution of this paper is to analyze and evaluate
the petroleum companies considering agility concepts
(issues) for oil industry modernization. These issues can
be presented as a framework for analysis and evaluation
of petroleum companies considerin g agility.
3. Analysis of Petroleum Companies for
In order to implement the agile concepts and thinking,
there will be some components that should be identified.
Table 1 includes the components of the agile company.
The agile company h as been bu ilt on so me concepts such
as the following: trying to decrease time of exploration
and drilling, achieving customer’s demand in less time,
and minimizing buffer stock [30-32]. These components
can be used to the application of agility to the petro leum
company and make the company succeed.
Petroleum company’s agility level measurements are
still ambiguous and ill-structured because they subjec-
tively described assessments and are unsuitable and inef-
fective classical techniques. There are six important
questions to be asked concerning agility as a general such
as the following [13]:
1) How far down the path is a company towards be-
coming a business organization?
2) How and to what degree does the organizational at-
tributes affect the company’s business performance?
3) How do you measure or evaluate the agility of a
4) How can a company improve its agility?
5) Which factors are more important than others?
6) How can companies identify the adverse factors for
Based on the theories behind “agility”, this section
suggests four dimensions to focus on agile capabilities
(technology, people, production strategies, and organiza-
tion management). They are considered to be the pillars
of agility. As the overall pro blem of measurement is lim-
ited to the four dimensions, the fundamental questions,
what to measure, how to measure it, and how to evaluate
the results will be determined. The analysis co uld be per-
formed in an interview survey by quantifying the impor-
tance from 1 to 10. This analysis is also proposed from a
exploration and drilling, and production perspectives,
which mean they have some delimitation by distributing
a questionnaire among oil industry experts in different
sectors of the company. These questions might not be
enough but give an idea of how the company is strug-
gling today and give an indication of influences in the
The research methodology used in this paper is im-
plementing a proposed technique based on a question-
naire. The purpose is to perform an agility using the
questionnaire to identify th e current level of performance
within the company with respect to the following four
dimensions of agility. The aim is to produce a good set of
results and from these determine an index (as a percent-
age) for where they think or perspective they are at the
moment and another index for where they should be with
respect to becoming a more agile company.
Table 1. Components of the agile petroleum company.
Components Description
Production size Optimize production rate.
Maximum buffer stock Maximize buffer inventories to expose fluctuating demand.
Total quality control Catch and correct errors at the whole processes.
Workers assume responsibility for safety.
Elimination of waste Dispense with any activities not directly related to production use.
Minimum amount of time to transport oil, and so on that add value to crude oil.
Setup reduction Reduce work that must be done when well is stopped.
Eliminate adjustments, simplify attachment and detachment.
Train and practice to minimize time requirements.
Redesign of work flow Eliminate unnecessary transportation, good logistics system is required.
Improved work processes Adopt statistical process control, analyze and improve process routes, obtain workers ideas
for continuing improvements.
Visual control Adopt line stop systems, trouble lights, production control boards, fool proof mechanisms,
control charts.
Preventive maintenance Have operators perform routine repairs and maintenance.
Have maintenance staff support operator and perform difficult maintenance and repair.
Leveled production Maintain steady rate of output using forecasting demand.
Kanban system Use kanban systems to pull oil.
Continuous improvement Employees find better ways to improve work processes.
Implementation of Agility Concepts into Oil Industry
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3.1. Analysis Form of Technology
Technology is the usage and knowledge of tools, tech-
niques, crafts, systems or methods of organization. It
refers to a collection of techniques. It is the current state
of humanity’s knowledge of how to combine resources to
produce oil, to solve problems, and fulfill needs. It in-
cludes technical methods, skills, processes, techniques,
tools and raw materials. It is the practical application of
knowledge especially in a particular area and a capability
given by the practical application of knowledge. It is
often a consequence of science and engineering. Oil and
gas are considered among the world’s most important
resources. The oil and gas industry plays a critical role in
driving the global economy.
The technology plays a very important role in the
promotion of a petroleum company. The implementation
of new technologies in exploration (seismic reflection,
gravity, magnetic, electrical), drilling and transportation
was estimated to be the capability with most need to im-
prove including the development projects. There are
many fundamental reasons to adopt technology to en-
hance agility: reduces the exploration time, reduces the
oil delivery time to customer, enhances the flexibility in
selecting a drill site, and improves understanding and
control of the production processes. The real issues are
how to find or develop appropriate technology and how
to quickly and inexpensively deploy this technology to
access to a reservoir up to several kilometers from the
drill rig. The main issues in technology concentrate on
the following: the latest available modifications, quality
of implementation drilling process, applying preventive
maintenance of equipments to let machines more reliable,
use of mobile rigs (e.g., jackups, semi-submersibles, drill
ships) in onshore and offshore (shallow and/or deep wa-
ter), ability to implement new exploration and drilling
technology, use new material handling system in moving
and transporting oil, ability for internal design changes,
easy access to information technology throughout proc-
esses on the shop floor, and so on.
3.2. Analysis Form of People
The level of education for the workers is a very impor-
tant part. The suggested analysis will be introduced to
measure the agility level of petroleum companies with
regards to people and give an indication of what will
influence the petroleum companies in the future. In this
analysis, a learning manufacturing firm will be referred
to as a learning organization, knowledge organization,
center for learning, and total quality learning organiza-
tion. Petroleum companies are built on knowledge work-
ers. It can be assumed that the next wave of economic
growth will come from knowledge-based companies. The
major issues regarding people rely on the degree of quali-
fication of the workers starting from job analysis and
recruitment, job enlargement, job enrichment, interper-
sonal skills and communication, continuous learning and
education, improved workforce capability and flexibility,
managing culture, conflict and stress, leadership roles,
motivation of the workers and employees to attend
courses and various training, and so on.
3.3. Analysis Form of Production Strategies
Analysis of production strategies is related to the present
and future, but it is developed by examining the past. The
production strategies in petroleum companies are involv-
ing several major processes: exploration; drilling; devel-
opment; production and transportation. Therefore, it is an
inherently uncertain process. With respect to exploration,
once a promising geological structure has been identi-
fied, the presence of hydrocarbons, thickness and internal
pressure of a reservoir is to drill exploratory boreholes.
A pad for a single exploration occupies between 4000-
15000 square meters. When exploratory drilling is suc-
cessful, more wells are drilled to determine the size and
the extent of the field. The appraisal stage aims to evalu-
ate the size and nature of the reservoir (oil field). The
number of wells required to exploit the hydrocarbon res-
ervoir varies with the size of the reservoir and its geol-
ogy. Large oilfields can require a 100 or more wells to be
drilled whereas smaller fields may only require ten or so.
Additional wells so called injection wells are required to
maintain constant production rate.
3.4. Analysis Form of organization Management
Change and uncertainty dominate today’s business envi-
ronment. The analysis form of management can be ap-
plied through some questions which help us to maintain
(or rise) the productivity of any company with high per-
formance. These questions include asking about new
wells or oilfields, organizing tasks between workers, or-
ganization structure and process used to control the or-
ganization management levels, applying technology in
management and all infrastructures, and company’s stra-
tegic plans.
The assessment questions regarding the above four
dimensions are not included due to page limitations but
interested readers are welcome to contact the author for
4. The Proposed Fuzzy Mathematical
The basic architecture of the agility evaluation system is
depicted in Figure 1. In order to perform the agility
evaluation, the system architecture consists of three main
parts: fuzzification interface, fuzzy measure, and defuzzi-
Implementation of Agility Concepts into Oil Industry
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
Figure 1. Flow chart of estimating agility level (Garbie et al., 2008).
Technology People
(Human Resources) Production
Strategies Organization Man-
Nonfuzzy input (Raw
Nonfuzzy input
(Raw Data)
Nonfuzzy input (Raw
Nonfuzzy input (Raw
Aggregating Collected Raw Data
Gathering of Questionnaires
Distribution of Questionnaires
Design of Questionnaire
Fuzzification Fuzzification Fuzzification Fuzzification
Fuzziness measure Fuzziness measure Fuzziness measure Fuzziness measure
Aggregating Fuzziness Measure
Defuzzification Interface
Implementation of Agility Concepts into Oil Industry
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
fication interface. The fuzzy mathematical equations will
be adopted to combine all frameworks and their corre-
sponding parameters to determine the overall agility.
This technique was developed by Garbie et al., [13]. All
these issues will be explained in the following steps:
Step 1: Questionnaires are designed for each infra-
structure including all essential elements.
Step 2: Questionnaires are distributed to specific ex-
perts in different departments.
Step 3: Questionnaires containing raw values are gath-
ered separately.
Step 4: Raw data are aggregated.
Step 5: Data are divided into the four infrastructures
(technology, people, production strategies, and organiza-
tion management).
Step 6: The fuzzification interface is used to transform
crisp data into fuzzy data using the following equation
where: i
= raw value of each attribute or each question
(WV < i
Z < BV)
= linear transformation index value (member-
ship), BV = best value = 10, WV = worst value = 1
Step 7: The measure of the fuzziness (f) of each infra-
structure (e.g., technology (tech)) can be modified and
expressed as follows (Equation 2) based on fuzziness
measure of an infrastructure [13,33]:
tech i
f techn
where: j = status of fuzzy member triangle (pessimistic,
optimistic, and most likely), tech
n= number of attributes
regarding technology infrastructure
Similarly, measuring the fuzziness (f) of people (p),
production strategy (p – s), and organization manage-
ment (o – m) can be also modified and expressed as the
following Equations (3), (4) and (5), respectively:
() 1
fp n
ps i
om i
fom n
where: j = status of fuzzy member triangle (pessimistic,
optimistic, and most likely),
n= number of attributes
regarding people infrastructure,
n= number of attrib-
utes regarding production strategies infrastructure, om
number of attributes regarding organization management
Step 8: The aggregate measure (agg.) of the fuzziness
(f) for all infrastructures is determined. At this level, the
output of the four infrastructures is entered into a global
measure for all infrastructures to compute the agility
fuzziness index as follows:
infrastructure i
f aggn
Step 9: Evaluate the defuzzification values using the
following equation [35]. The output from Step 8 is a
fuzzy membership function for the petroleum company's
agility level, which can be defuzzified to yield a non-
fuzzy output value (crisp data are needed) from an in-
ferred fuzzy output.
where: p = pessimistic, o = optimistic, m = most likely
Step 10: Assess the current agility level (current
AL ).
The output from Step 9 is the current value of the com-
pany's agility level.
Step 11: Estimate the agility needs level (need
L) as
Agility need level = 1– Assessment of current agility
level. 1
need current
All these steps are deeply shown in Figure 1.
5. Case Studies and Implementation
In order to test the proposed analysis measurement pre-
sented in the previous section, two case studies were per-
formed. The objective of these studies was to analyze
agility level according to the proposed analysis and
evaluate the proposed methodology. In order to analyze
the concept of “agility”, an interview survey was carried
out in two petroleum companies in Oman. The results
from the case studies will be presented in this section.
5.1. Case study No. 1 (ABC Company)
ABC Company is used for mo re than 80 years in oil ser-
Implementation of Agility Concepts into Oil Industry
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
vice representing in knowledge, technical services and
innovation and teamwork. They have focused on lever-
aging these assets to deliver solutions that improve cus-
tomer performance. Today, the real-time technology ser-
vices and solutions enable cus tomers to translate acquired
data into useful information, and then transform this in-
formation into knowledge for improved decision mak-
ing-anytime, anywhere. Harnessing information tech-
nology offers enormous opportunities to enhance effi-
ciency and productivity. This is a quantum leap from
providing traditional ‘just-in-case’ information to deliv-
ering “just-in-time” knowledge that meets the changing
nee ds o f c us to m ers . AB C C o m pan y be li efs d iv er si ty s pu rs
creativity, collaboration and understanding customers’
needs. It employs over 105,000 people of more than 140
nationalities working in approximately 80 countries. The
employees are committed to working with customers to
create the highest level of added value. Knowledge
communities and special interest groups with ABC or-
ganization enable teamwork and knowledge sharing un-
encumbered by geographic boundaries.
There are technology innovations With 25 research and
engineering facilities worldwide emphasis on developing
innovative technology that adds value for customers. For
example, in 2009, ABC Company invested $802 million
in rese ar ch an d d eve lop ment ( R& D ). Th e ABC Comp a n y
has principal offices in Paris (France), Houston (USA)
and The Hague, from which the executive management
team directs all ABC operations worldwide. The ABC
Code of Ethics and policies apply to all Company direc-
tors, officers, and employees. They are designed to help
each employee handle business situations professionally
and fairly. One of the greatest strengths is the diversity of
workforce, with men and women of many nationalities
and backgrounds working together and sharing common
objectives. The ABC Company does not have a 'national-
ity' which describes its culture, but operates in a truly
global fashion throughout the world. The company en-
courages fair employment practices worldwide and offer
equal opportunities to all employees. The Company tries
to take family considerations into account in any decisions
about personnel matters or assignments.
As mentioned before, agility aud it questionnaires were
distributed among departments: exploration, drilling and
production department, engineering and research and
development department, transportation, marketing de-
partment, and oil industry experts. The evaluations from
their point of view on the suggested questions for agility
dimensions with respect to all infrastructures are shown.
It represents agility audit questionnaires based on the
four different types of infrastructures and number of
questions in each type (technology (29) questions, people
(89), production strategies (13), and organization man-
agement (21). First, the fuzzy membership functions of
all the basic and high level attributes will be estimated. In
order to keep this case simple, fuzzy membership func-
tions for all attributes are assumed to be triangular. In
this analysis, a transformation process can be used to
normalize the alternative values (raw data) in relation to
the best and worst values for a particular criterion. As
also was discussed previously, BV and WV are assigned
by the domain experts. Second, compute the fuzziness
measure for each infrastructure individually (technology,
people, production strategies, and organization manage-
ment). Third, the aggregate measure of fuzziness for all
infrastructures will be estimated. The values of individ-
ual and aggregate fuzziness are shown in Table 2.
The next step is to determine the appropriate defuzzi-
fication value (DV) through the agility aggregate fuzzy
membership function (0.5419, 0.7012 and 0.7136) using
Equation (7). Then, the defuzzification value is as fol-
The defuzzification value represents the current ABC
Company’ agility level (AL).
ABC 0.6675AL
This means that the capabilities and abilities of the
ABC Company to compete in oil market is approxi-
mately 66.75% and the level of agility needed to stay in
competition is 100% – 66.75% = 33.25%. This value
means that the level of oil in du stry modernizatio n for this
company is 33.25 percent to compete. The agility level
has a range from 0 to 100%, with a value of 0 or close to
0 indicating the worst possible agility level and a value
of 100% or close to 100% indicating the best possible
agility level. As was discussed previously, the agility
level is based on the technology, people, production
strategies, and organization management infrastructures.
Each of these infrastructures (i.e., technology, people,
production strategies, and management) has also a range
from 0 to 100%. Finally, measures of agility in each in-
frastructure can be estimated individually. Table 3 show s
the current agility level and agility needed for every in-
frastructure in ABC Company.
It can be noticed from Table 2 that the levels of cur-
rent agility for technology and production strategies in-
frastructures are the highest ones although they are still at
above medium level. This means that they had concen-
trated on having new equipments and machines, used
modern technology, and good techniques in exploration,
drilling and production itself. With respect to people and
organization management infrastructures, their values
were almost medium and they need more development to
improve their capability and competence especially in
Implementation of Agility Concepts into Oil Industry
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
Table 2. Agility levels of ABC Company.
Type of agility Current agility
(%) Agility needed
Technology 59.67 40.33
People 44.67 55.33
Production Strategies 60.20 39.80
Organization Man-
agement 49.25 50.75
Total ABC agility
level 66.75 33.75
Table 3. Agility level of XYZ Company.
Type of agility Current agility
(%) Agility needed
Technology 62.20 37.80
People 57.60 42.40
Production Strategies 52.80 47.20
Organization Man-
agement 54.00 46.00
Total XYZ agility
level 74.00 26.00
people which represents the lowest value although people
are considered as the most important assets.
5.2. Case study No. 2 (XYZ Company)
XYZ is an international oil and gas exploration and pro-
duction company. It is the fourth largest US oil and gas
company based o n market capitalization of $ 6 6 billion at
year 2009 with nearly 30,000 employees and contractors
on four continents. The XYZ engages in oil and natural
gas exploration and production in three core regions: the
United States, Middle East/North Africa and Latin Amer-
ica. It is worldwide leader in applying advanced technol-
ogy to boost production from mature oil and nature gas
fields and access hard-to-reach reserves. The XYZ Oman
operations are concentrated at the giant A1 oil field in
south central Oman, the A2 field in northern Oman, and
adjacent areas. During its 30 years tenure in Oman, the
XYZ has increased production, reserves and scope. To-
day the XYZ Company is considered the country's sec-
ond largest oil producer.
At A1 oil field, the XYZ has implemented an aggres-
sive drilling and develop ment program including a major
pattern steam flood project for enhanced oil recovery. As
of year 2009, the exit rate of gross daily production was
over 10 times higher than the production rate in 2005
when XYZ assumed operation of the field. The XYZ
plans to steadily increase production through continued
expansion of the team flood project. Table 3 shows the
current agility level and agility needed for every infra-
structure in XYZ Company.
It can be noticed from Table 3 that the levels of cur-
rent agility for production strategies and organization
management infrastructures are the lowest ones although
they are still at a medium level. This means that they
focused on management rules representing in organiza-
tion objectives, organizing tasks and work, company
structure, and so on. With respect to technology and peo-
ple infrastructures, their values were the highest and they
also need more development to increase their capability
and competence.
It seems from Table 4 that technology in both compa-
nies represents the highest value which includes knowl-
edge tools, new techniques, methods and how to combine
resources to produce oil. These values (agility of tech-
nology) in ABC and XYZ companies are close to equal
(59.67% and 62.20%) although ABC Company is used
mainly as a service company and the XYZ Company is
used for operations. This means technology in petroleum
companies or in oil industry is the most important issue.
With respect to people or human resources, it can be
noticed that agility level in ABC Company is lower than
XYZ Company. This indicates the human resources in
XYZ Company are better or more qualifying than the
human resources in ABC Company. This will lead to
observe that operation companies need more learning and
educating people than service companies. Also, with re-
spect to production strategies, there is an increasing in
agility level in service companies than operation compa-
nies representing in exploration, drilling , production, and
Regarding organization management, the ABC Com-
pany (service) has lower agility value than XYZ Com-
pany (operation). This means the organization structure
in operation companies is more flexible and it has good
strategic plans than service companies which are some-
times limited or restricted with the region itself. Gener-
ally and according to these studied companies and lim-
ited with available data, it can be said that the total agil-
ity of operation companies is more than total agility of
service companies. This will lead to conf irm the con cepts
of implementation agility as one of most important pro-
duction philosophies which were recommended by Gar-
bie [36].
6. Conclusions and Recommendations for
Future Work
In this paper, analysis and investigation of agility in two
petroleum companies were studied regarding a new con-
cept of evaluation is so called “agile oil industry”. Also,
an attempt has been made to give a real world account of
agile system. The Agile oil industry is considered as the
latest industry revolution in the context of case studies
from real oil industry world of business. The deployment
of agility concepts as the best way to measures success of
petroleum companies is very critical to survive the pres-
sure of global co mpetition.
Implementation of Agility Concepts into Oil Industry
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
Table 4. Comparison between ABC Company and XYZ Company.
ABC Company XYZ Company
Type of agility Agility
Level (%) Agility
Needed (%) Agility
Level (%) Agility
Needed (%)
Technology 59.67 40.33 62.20 37.80
People 44.67 55.33 57.60 42.40
Production Strategies 60.20 39.80 52.80 47.20
Organization Management 49.25 50.75 54.00 46.00
Total agility (%) 66.75 74.00
Agility Needed (%) 33.75 26.00
It is recommended that companies address agility is-
sues early in evaluating the petroleum companies' levels.
Its enablers were identified and the proposed methodol-
ogy of measurement was offered to illustrate enablers
along with the four infrastructures (technology, people,
production strategies, and organization management) of
petroleum company agility. Analyzing the huge amount
of the collected data is challenging and time consuming.
As a consequence of this, a fuzzy logic approach has
been described in this study. By measuring the fuzziness
of each infrastructure individually, the agility aggregate
fuzziness measure and defuzzification value are esti-
mated using the proposed approach after modifying some
terms to evaluate the petroleum company that is consid-
ering agility. The application of the proposed approach is
applied to famous two international companies. The re-
sults show that the agility level of these companies is at
above medium level and still needs more development in
different infrastructures to become more competitive.
These case studies conducted at Service and Operation
Companies was used to add a real industrial perspective.
They provided a basis for assessing and discussing the
implementation of agile system. Most of petroleum com-
panies think that they have a full agility level and they
did not require more agility based on buying the latest
technologies. This leads not to say that agile system is
totally inapplicable.
The contribution of this paper is to introduce a new
definition of agile system into petroleum companies (op-
eration, service, retail) although this concept still unclear
regarding to petroleum companies although they applied
most of agile requirements. Also analysis and evaluation
of the petroleum companies considering agility concepts
(issues) for oil industry modernization is recommended.
For further research, the author plan to apply agility
questionnaire in many petroleum companies to valid the
proposed approach and discussing deeply which infra-
structure is more important than others. Also the author
has been planning to us e the current agility levels of sev-
eral different petroleum companies to introduce a new
strategy of reconfiguration and/or reorganizing of the
petroleum company to cope with different environments.
7. Acknowledgements
The author would like to acknowledge the financial sup-
port provided by the Sultan Qaboos University (Grant No.
IG/ENG/MIED/10/01) to carry out this research work.
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