Future Trends in the Struggle for Control of International Oil Resources

by S. Sethi, Jorge Forte



Struggles for control of oil resources constantly mark world petroleum history. The traditional war-ring forces are the producing countries and the major oil companies. The majors are privately owned and traditionally have taken the entrepreneurial risks of exploring for, discovering and exploiting oil resources. The majors until recently controlled the world's oil supply, directed its world-wide distribution and marketing and determined the amount of revenue sharing between them and the producing countries. This was done through their control of transport facilities refining capacity and retail outlets in the oil-consuming countries. In their struggle to exercise greater control over their resources and to demand a greater share of profits, oil producing countries in the past generally lost the battle before it began because of their low staying power and their inability to produce and market oil in the world markets without outside help. However, there have been some noticeable changes in this power struggle since 1950.

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