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Is the World Oil Market "One Great Pool"?

Is there one, global market for crude oil? This appears to be the assumption made by most petroleum economists, stated succinctly by Adelman in a recent issue of The Energy Journak "The world oil market, like the world ocean, is one great pool" (July 1984, p. 5). Policymakers have often implicitly held the opposite assumption - that the world market is fragmented - as evidenced by the efforts of many importing-country governments to seek special arrangements for "secure supply" from exporters in the 1970s and early 1980s. Likewise, oil exporters have sought "secure outlets" for their crude in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These arrangements make no sense if the world crude oil market is integrated. In a similar fashion, a policy of diversifying suppliers, which is practised by many importers now, is senseless in a globally unified market.

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Energy Specializations: Petroleum – Markets and Prices for Crude Oil and Products; Energy Modeling – Energy Data, Modeling, and Policy Analysis

JEL Codes:
L13 - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

Keywords: World oil market, Regionalization, Oil production. OPEC, Non-OPEC supply

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No3-7

Published in Volume 12, Number 3 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.