Most public relations specialists assume that PR is mainly useful for businesses that involve mainstream household consumer goods with big name brands. Nonetheless, large companies that deal with basic commodities, such as oil and gas, also need effective public relations campaigns. In fact, strong and successful PR is very necessary for oil companies today as there are some misconceptions about the industry relating to increases in petroleum prices, energy security concerns and environmental worries.
Effective public relations for oil companies are meant to help the wider public further understand the industry. In particular, the American Petroleum Institute has been using public relations and media coverage to explain the recent increases in petrol prices. They explain that market forces have driven the price upwards, particularly as formerly developed economies such as China and India have become more industrialized. As a result, there is more demand for oil worldwide, but the supply of it has largely remained flat.
Oil companies in the United States have focused on improving their communications both with the partners associated to the company and with the general public. Sentry Energy Production LLC is an example of a US oil exploration and development company that has placed public relations and communications at the forefront of its business strategy. The privately held company is based in Addison, Texas, and its core operation includes identifying and extracting resources from oil wells that were passed up or thought of as being not commercially viable by drillers beforehand. According to business reports, Sentry Energy is estimated to have an annual revenue of about half a million dollars.
While drilling and extracting oil is a key component of the company's mission, it's interesting to note that it also has a communication element in its mission. One of its three core objectives is to provide open, honest and direct communication to its partners. Fundamental to the oil company is the importance of long term, mutually beneficial relationships.
Sentry Energy Production has extended its relationship-building mission to its public relations efforts too. This is evident in the positive contributions of its staff members to the wider community. For instance, Antoinette Rand, who heads Energy Development at Synergy Energy, has been actively involved in several equine related organizations such as the Arkansas Thoroughbred Breeders' & Horsemen's Association.
In today's current economic climate, oil companies are increasingly seeing the value in developing communications both within and outside their organizations. Public relations remains an important tool for these businesses and it will continue to be relevant for the oil industry in the future.