Assessment of effective environmental factors in oil and gas industry policies using PESTLE & SWOT analysis (case study: Kurdistan, Iraq)

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Environmental Planning, Management and Education, Faculty of Environment, Campus of Technical Schools, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Today, the energy sector has an important role in modern society, and a comprehensive understanding of its performance is needed not only to decide on domestic energy policies but also to develop sustainable economic policies. With more than 60 billion barrels of oil reserves and about 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Kurdistan region has attracted the attention of industrialized nations who need more energy of oil and natural gas. It is the eighth largest oil-producing region in the world that is divided into more than 57 oilfields. Considering the importance of this area and the vast environmental impacts of oil and gas, the purpose of this study was to identify the influential environmental factors in oil and gas policymaking.
Material and methods:
The present study was applied research that used field evaluating and interviews with experts to obtain the required information. In this research, data were collected by the Delphi method and through a questionnaire. The SWOT & PESTLE model was used to analyze the information and identify the effective environmental factors in oil and gas policymaking.
Results and discussion:
According to the results of the internal factor evaluation matrix, the number of weaknesses was higher and the oil and gas industry and environmental experts gave it the highest score. Results also indicated that the oil and gas industries, although having different strengths and effectiveness, but weaknesses were more effective. Strengths such as the existence of vast oil and gas reserves in the Kurdistan region, the existence of relative democracy, the preservation of civil and political rights, economic development, and the growth of GNP and GDP, obtained the highest scores. On the other hand, deficiency in strategic planning and macroeconomic policies, lack of a coherent and robust management system in line with financial and contracts transparency, and the ineffectiveness of the tax and customs system were the weaknesses. Therefore, it can be concluded that the oil and gas industry, despite its normal growth and development, needs to use great strategies to prioritize environmental preservation, sustainable development, transparency, and management. Also, according to the results obtained in the external factors assessment matrix, it was observed that the oil and gas industries had more opportunities than threats. According to the scores given by experts, the most important opportunities and threats were the future energy needs of the world and the lack of political boundaries and connection to the free seas of the world.
It was observed that the strategic position of the oil and gas industries in the Kurdistan region was in the conservative strategies section (overcoming the opportunities points on threats and weaknesses on the strengths) with the approach of environmental protection and preservation policies to achieve sustainable development. Therefore, macro strategies are proposed in line with the current conditions for the development of oil and gas industries, and the presentation and implementation of environmental policies, so that we reduce the existing threats using existing opportunities and turn the weaknesses into strengths.


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