Medzhidova D.
The Influence of the Relationship `Specificity of Key Assets – Human Capital` on the Development of the US Gas Industry
Publication Type:


ISSN 2076-6297

DOI 10.17835/2076-6297.2019.11.3.039-053

The article examines the changes in the U.S. upstream gas industry from the perspective of asset specificity and characteristics of human capital. The authors show that nowadays the development of shale gas production, as well as the expansion of production and sales of liquefied natural gas are associated with changes in the asset characteristics (both tangible and intangible). The latter is increasingly acquiring the features of universality. Among the characteristics of such changes is the reduction in contract duration, and changing directions of natural gas supply (including outside the United States). Furthermore, the ratio of costs changes dramatically: while for the traditional fields capital costs, associated with well construction, dominate over operational costs, associated with well exploitation and maintenance, shale fields are characterised by an invert correlation. In addition, the essential role is now played not by field/well characteristics, but by the level of competencies and the technological development. Hence, the share of employees in the service sector keeps increasing. The authors substantiate that the “shale” assets are generally less specific than the “traditional” ones. The transformation of specificity, along with the increase in the number of transactions, lead to the proliferation of the number of service companies and local operators at all the stages. These companies tend to minimise costs and maximise efficiency, consequently (alongside with several other reasons, mentioned in the article) leading to lower gas prices in the U.S.A. and creating an opportunity for gas export.    

The paper is supported by a grant from RSF #19-18-00170.



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