Case Analysis: Talisman Energy Inc: The Decision to Enter Iraq
Talisman Energy Inc. after a failed oil venture in Sudan due to poor handling of public relations is contemplating entering Kurdistan after the Iraq War. The Sudanese fiasco was due to a portrayal of Talisman as a conspirator with the Sudanese government in perpetuating regional conflict and funding human rights abuses. The subsequent media firestorm and activist pressure spooked high-stakes investors who forced Talisman to withdraw. An equally dangerous and fluid political clime exists in the war-torn Kurdistan, with a regional government struggling with legitimacy and seeking foreign investment. Though the potential for profit is high and resources are plentiful, the field is largely devoid of other firms who could prevent Talisman being singled out again, and logistical and ethical problems abound. Talisman is advised not to enter such a risky market again, especially with their recent failure so fresh in the worlds (and their investors) memory.
Talisman, though performing their due diligence and making visible corporate efforts to the contrary was painted by the media as indirectly funding human rights abuses through their operations in Sudan. They were unable to mitigate the damage and had to leave the region and profits behind. Before choosing to enter Iraq, Talisman should consider the impact on their image and stock price by political pressure and public opinion. Talisman’s problems with public relations, which led to its eventual pullout from Sudan, were caused by two main factors. First were the company’s circumstances, with regard to Talisman’s position in the region, as well as its makeup; both of which served to make it an ideal target for activists. Second was its handling of the incident both pre- and post-backlash, which served to hasten the demise of their misadventure. Talisman had an explicit relationship with the Sudanese government after they bought into a 25% stake of...
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