Bullwhip effect in the oil and gas supply chain : a multi-case study

The bullwhip effect has been extensively studied in the retail, wholesale and manufacturing industries. However, it has been rarely explored in the context of resource extraction industries such as oil and gas, despite their economic impact and distinct features. This paper investigates the factors that impact the bullwhip effect in the oil and gas supply chain using case study evidence from six companies in North America, which cover refining and marketing, exploration and production, integrated oil and gas, and drilling. For each type of company studied, the operational causes of the bullwhip effect proposed in the literature and other factors of influence are examined. The findings indicate that the existing theories of the bullwhip effect have limitations in explaining the phenomenon in the oil and gas industry. Information sharing, a widely advocated countermeasure of the bullwhip effect may not be relevant in the integrated oil and gas company. Regarding the factors that drive or mitigate the bullwhip effect in different types of companies in the oil and gas supply chain, seven propositions are developed and several additional findings are obtained. All of these results enable better understandings of the bullwhip effect in academia, oil and gas organisations and related industries, and may provide guidance for potential countermeasures in practice.
bullwhip effect, oil and gas, energy, case study, supply chain management
Zhu, T., Balakrishnan, J., & da Silveira, G. J. C. (2020). Bullwhip effect in the oil and gas supply chain: A multiple-case study. International Journal of Production Economics, 224 doi:10.1016/j.ijpe.2019.107548