Multinational Business and Transnational Regions : A Transnational Business History of Energy Transition in the Rhine Region, 1945-1973 book cover
1st Edition

Multinational Business and Transnational Regions
A Transnational Business History of Energy Transition in the Rhine Region, 1945-1973

ISBN 9780367735036
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
250 Pages

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Book Description

Multinational Enterprise and Transnational Regions offers an innovative approach to the study of the history of transnational economic regions. The Rhine valley is such a region comprising the cities and areas along the Rhine river and its tributaries.

The transition from coal to oil that unfolded between 1945 and 1973 rapidly transformed the region, shattering some of the old river-based connections and creating new ones with the introduction of large-scale cross-border oil pipelines. Multinational enterprises shaped these new regional connections but divergent national government responses gave rise to differentiated development in different parts of the Rhine valley.


Multinational Enterprise and Transnational Regions argues that processes of regional change should be understood from transnational interconnections rather than from local or national perspectives. This book uses a transnational business history methodology to tease out the region’s transformation and to circumvent the national bias in public sources. It will be of relevance to academics and researchers with an interest in regional and transnational European history, international business, environmental history, and business history, as well as practitioners interested in the oil industry, energy and energy history, business history and international business, and associated disciplines.

Table of Contents


Transnational economic regions: capturing an illusive phenomenon

Resurrecting the Rhine as an economic region

Energy transition in the Rhine region

Part I Regional transformation — Energy transition in the Rhine region

Chapter 1 The post-war reconstruction and the rise of oil, 1945-1951

1.1 Introduction

1.2 The question of energy in post-war Western Europe

1.3 The impact of the Allied occupation on the Ruhr coal industry

1.4 The Allied refining program: restarting the hydrogenation plants

1.5 The case of Union Kraftstoff

1.6 The geographical consequences of the Allied occupation

1.7 Conclusion

Chapter 2 Oil unbounded: The Coal Crisis of 1957-8

2.1 Introduction

2.2 The competition between coal and oil, 1950-1955

2.3 The rise of fuel oil and the 1958 coal crisis

2.4 Stemming the tide: attempts to limit the rise of fuel oil

2.5 Conclusion

Chapter 3 The growth of chemical clusters in the Rhine region, 1960-73

3.1 Introduction

3.2 The Rhine-Ruhr refineries

3.3 Deutsche Shell and Union Kraftstoff, 1951-1958

3.4 The Rhineland refinery of Deutsche Shell

3.5 The post-war transition of the chemical industry

3.6 An oil and petrochemical cluster in the Rhine-Ruhr area

3.7 Effect of the transition on transport demand in the hinterland

3.8 Conclusions

Part II Regional connections — From Rhine to pipeline

Chapter 4 Pipelines: The national approach, 1955-6

4.1 Introduction

4.2 A pipeline to the Rhine-Ruhr area

4.3 Rotterdam competing with Wilhelmshaven

4.4 Wilhelmshaven: "the best deep water port in Europe"?

4.5 Conclusions

Chapter 5 The trans-European pipeline: The transnational approach: 1956-8

5.1 Introduction

5.2 From national to transnational: the trans-European pipeline plan

5.3 Further complications

5.4 France, oil and the Cold War

5.5 Endgame: The failure of the trans-European pipeline

5.6 Why the trans-European pipeline never materialised

5.7 Conclusion

Chapter 6 Expanding transnational connections, 1959-73

6.1 Introduction

6.2 The hydrocarbon hub: The Rotterdam port between 1950 and 1973

6.3 The expansion of the Rotterdam-Rhine pipeline, 1965-1968

6.4 The Rhine-Main pipeline, 1965-1971

6.5 Integrating chemical clusters in the Rhine basin, 1965-73

6.6 The Rotterdam-Antwerp pipeline, 1967-1969

6.7 Conclusion

Chapter 7 Transnational connections in the Rhine region: Evidence from transport flows

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Gateway to the Rhine? Rotterdam from transitopolis to industrial port

7.3 Oil flows in the Rhine region: The impact of pipelines

7.4 Transnational connections

7.5 Conclusion

Chapter 8 Conclusion

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Marten Boon is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of History at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim.


"A unique multi-national study in economic policy which breaks out of the national constraints of much business history work."Kevin Tennent, University of York, UK

"This book will appeal to a range of readers interested in business, economic, and energy history, as well as those who wish to better understand the nuances and tensions of postwar Europe's infrastructural integration." - Nicholas Ostrum,  EuropeNow