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Nationalizing Oil in the 1970s

National oil companies emerged during the 1970s as an important force within both oil-exporting and oil-importing countries. By 1980 they were producing and marketing well over half the crude oil available for sale on world markets. These oil companies prospered within oil-exporting countries as events increasingly confirmed that the principal source of economic power in the oil business was sovereign control over oil reserves rather than private control over technical, managerial, and capital resources. During the 1970s, many oil-exporting countries sought to exploit their new-found market strength and exercise greater control over their oil industry either by building up existing government-owned oil companies or by seizing the opportunity to create new ones.

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Energy Specializations: Petroleum – Policy and Regulation; Energy Security and Geopolitics – Geopolitics of Energy

JEL Codes: Q41: Energy: Demand and Supply; Prices, Q40: Energy: General, Q35: Hydrocarbon Resources, Q37: Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation: Issues in International Trade

Keywords: National oil companies, Government ownership, Nationalization, Oil and gas resources

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol4-No4-5

Published in Volume 4, Number 4 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.