Access to Energy: 2000 and After (Essays for the Third by Melvin A. Conant

By Melvin A. Conant

Conant explores how the transformation of oil from a advertisement commodity to a strategic uncooked fabric have replaced the face of worldwide power politics. In an more and more interdependent international, Conant questions the proper of any state to withold important offers from different nations.

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Extra resources for Access to Energy: 2000 and After (Essays for the Third Century)

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Production in the United States vastly exceeded consumption, with the result that many American firms began to market petroleum products abroad. Indeed, until World War I, American companies supplied about one-quarter of total foreign consumption. During the second decade of the twentieth century, the struc- 28 / Access to Energy ture of the international oil industry began to change as American consumption quickly increased and American firms became increasingly dependent on foreign sources of crude to supply their international markets.

The problem was exacerbated by the legacy of American intervention in Mexico, especially United States support for the ousted Diaz dictatorship, which made the oil dispute a test case for the new Mexican nationalism. The conflict was further fueled when the United States government actively entered into the dispute and exerted strong pressures on various Mexican administrations that were often too weak to resist. (In this regard, it is interesting to compare American intervention in Mexico with the growing demands in the 1970s for a more active United States government involvement in all aspects of international petroleum negotiations.

The politics of Venezuelan oil were engaged in the running controversy which lasted nearly a half-century and still affect the country's attitude toward the foreign companies, even after nationalization. It was a long and difficult struggle between government and the oil industry, made more complicated by the growth of lower-cost oil from the Middle East concessions held by the same giant oil companies active in Venezuela. As was the case in all producing countries, Venezuelans lacked initially the requisite knowledge to oversee or participate in oil Concession System / 41 operations.

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